Saturday, 10 March 2018

If we investigate the ego closely enough we will see that it is only brahman, but however closely we investigate the world we can never thereby see that it is brahman

After telling me that he is now reading Ramana Maharshi: The Crown Jewel of Advaita by John Grimes, a friend sent me two WhatsApp messages saying:
I am ‘excited’. For the first time I read about or understood the distinction between the illusory nature of the world and that of the individual — John Grimes’ book p. 147 and 148. Seeing the rope as snake and seeing the white conch shell as yellow conch shell due to the unseen or unrecognized yellow glass. Wonderful explanation that struck me.

Brahman manifesting as world, but seeing only the world as real is illusion like seeing the rope as snake. The individual though only brahman, and also felt as I, but due to ego (yellow glass), mistaking I as me or mine.

Thus while both are illusions, the second one is that in aspect or nature of ‘I’, although I is seen or experienced. When the ignorance is removed, it will be known that it is brahman that was being all the while experienced hitherto also as ‘I’ — that is there are not two ‘I’s.
The following is adapted from the reply I wrote to him:

I assume that John Grimes had good reasons for using these two analogies as he did, but from what you have written his reasons are not clear, so I am not able to understand exactly what distinction he is making by means of these analogies. If anything I would think they should be used the other way round.

That is, however closely we investigate the world, we can never thereby see that it is brahman, just as however closely we look at a white conch through a yellow glass it will continue to seem as if it were yellow. Our ego is like the yellow glass, because so long as we see through the ego we will see only nāma-rūpa (names and forms: the phenomena that constitute the world) and not brahman as it is, which is just pure sat-cit-ānanda (existence-awareness-bliss) uncontaminated by nāma-rūpa. However, if we investigate the ego closely enough we will see that it is not the ego that it seemed to be but only brahman, just as if we look at an illusory snake closely enough we will see that it is not the snake that it seemed to be but only a rope.

The world (that is, the totality of all phenomena, whether in our present state or in any similar state, all of which are just dreams) is a secondary illusion, whereas the ego is the primary illusion that gives rise to this secondary illusion, because the ego alone is what perceives both of these illusions. Without the ego, no world would seem to exist, and so long as the ego seems to exist, some world or other will also seem to exist, because the ego seems to exist only when it grasps a body as ‘I’, and whatever body it grasps as ‘I’ appears along with whichever world it is a part of. The ego is therefore the root of all illusion.

The ego is an illusion that arises without any intervening media, whereas any other illusion such as a world appears and is perceived only through the intervening medium of ego. Therefore seeing a white conch as yellow when it is seen through the intervening medium of a yellow glass is an apt analogy for seeing brahman as all the phenomena that constitute this or any other world when it (brahman) is seen through the intervening medium of ego, whereas seeing a rope as a snake is in many respects an apt analogy for seeing brahman as the perceiving ego, because just as the snake is a direct (unmediated) misperception of the rope, the ego is a direct (unmediated) misperception of brahman, our real nature. However, whereas the snake is perceived by (and therefore seems to exist only in the view of) a separate observer, the ego is perceived by (and therefore seems to exist only in the view of) itself.

I think perhaps the reason why John Grimes used these analogies as he did is that he is viewing illusion from the perspective of the old advaita analysis, according to which the root problem is ignorance (avidyā) because it is what obscures our awareness of brahman, whereas according to Bhagavan’s deeper analysis what is ignorant is only the ego, so without the ego there is no ignorance, and hence the root problem is only the ego. The old advaita analysis is correct insofar as self-ignorance is the very nature of the ego, but it is misunderstood by many people to mean that ignorance is what gives rise to the ego rather than being nothing other than the ego itself. Therefore, since ignorance is not other than the ego, we cannot remove it without removing the ego, and since the ego is an incorrect awareness of ourself it can only be removed by awareness of ourself as we actually are.

Therefore as Bhagavan taught us, all we need do to remove the ego (along with its ignorance) is to look at it very carefully and thereby see that it is only brahman. This is best illustrated by the analogy of the rope that seems to be a snake, because all we need do to remove the illusion that it is a snake is to look at it very carefully and thereby see that it is only a rope. Therefore in the case of the ego this analogy illustrates three points: firstly, that what seems to be the ego is in fact only brahman; secondly, that we therefore cannot see brahman as it is so long as we see it as the ego; and thirdly and most importantly, that we can see brahman as it is (that is, as the pure and infinite self-awareness that we actually are) only by investigating the ego.

Though this analogy of the rope that seems to be a snake is often used to illustrate the point that what seems to be the world is in fact only brahman, and also the consequent point that we cannot see brahman as it is so long as we see it as the world (as Bhagavan explains in the third paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?), it is applicable to the world only to this extent, because if we try to extend it further it would seem to suggest that we can become aware of brahman as it is by investigating the world, which is clearly not the case. In this respect the traditional analogy of seeing a white conch shell as a yellow one because we are jaundiced (or because we are looking at it through a yellow glass, as per the variant of it used by John Grimes) is more appropriate, because our lack of clear vision due to our rising as the ego is what causes us to see brahman as the world, just as a lack of clear vision due to jaundice (or an intervening yellow glass) is what causes us to see a white conch as a yellow one, so to see brahman as it is we need to remove the ego, just as to see white conch as it is we need to remove our jaundice (or the intervening yellow glass).

However from what you write John Grimes does seem to point out one of the most important distinctions between the ego and the world, namely that the ego is aware of itself as ‘l’ (in other words, it is self-aware), which is the nature of brahman, whereas the world is jaḍa, so it is not aware of anything, either itself or anything else. The ego is self-aware because it is a confused mixture of pure awareness (cit), which is brahman, and adjuncts (upādhis) beginning with a body, which are all non-aware (jaḍa), and hence it is called cit-jaḍa-granthi, the knot (granthi) formed by the entanglement of cit with jaḍa, making them appear as if they were one.

Of these two elements that comprise the ego, cit and jaḍa, only awareness (cit) is real, because it is permanent and unchanging, whereas its jaḍa element consists only of adjuncts, which are transient and subject to change. Therefore the essence and reality of the ego is not any of its transient adjuncts but only its permanent self-awareness, so if it investigates itself keenly enough it will see that it is just pure and infinite self-awareness, and hence it will no longer seem to be the adjunct-bound and hence finite self-awareness called ‘ego’.

Since pure self-awareness (prajñānam) is brahman, as declared in the mahāvākyaprajñānaṁ brahma’ (Aitarēya Upaniṣad 3.3), the real nature of brahman will be revealed only when the ego investigates itself (its own self-awareness) and thereby dissolves back into its original state as pure self-awareness.

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After I had written this reply to my friend, he sent me photos of the portions of the three pages of the book that he had referred to (namely half of page 147, all of page 148 and half of page 149 of Ramana Maharshi: The Crown Jewel of Advaita), and by reading this extract I was able to understand what John Grimes intended to illustrate by using these two analogies in the way he did. That is, in the case of the rope-snake analogy, the identity of the rope is concealed entirely when it seems to be a snake, just as the nature of brahman is concealed entirely when it seems to be the world, whereas in the case of the white conch seen through a yellow glass, what is concealed by the intervening yellow glass is not the identity of the conch as such but only one of its features, namely its whiteness, just as what is concealed by the appearance of the ego is not the entire nature of Brahman but only certain aspects of its nature, because the ego is aware of itself as ‘I’, which is the nature of brahman, but is also aware of itself as a finite form, namely a body, which is contrary to the nature of brahman, since brahman is formless and hence infinite.

Self-awareness is the very nature of brahman, and the same self-awareness shines even in the ego, but not in the world. The only sense in which self-awareness shines in the world is that in the view of the ego, which is aware of itself as a person, all the other people and sentient beings in the world seem to be self-aware like itself, but the supposed self-awareness of other people is not experienced by the ego directly but is just inferred by it from their behaviour, so for our present purposes we can discount it. Moreover even in a dream all the other people and sentient beings seen by the dreaming ego seem to be self-aware, but when the ego wakes up from that dream it recognises that all those other people and their self-awareness were just its own mental projection, so if our present state is just a dream, as Bhagavan says it is, all the other people we see in this world and their seeming self-awareness are just our own mental projection.

Therefore for our present purposes we can say that the world as such is not aware of anything, neither of itself nor of anything else, whereas the ego is aware both of itself and of other things. Awareness of other things is not the nature of brahman, because in the clear view of brahman it alone exists, so there is no other thing for it to be aware of. Therefore brahman is aware of itself only as ‘I’, which is why Bhagavan often said that it shines as just ‘I am I’, whereas the ego is aware of itself as ‘I am this body’.

Therefore the self-awareness of brahman is concealed in the world, whereas in the ego it is not concealed but is nevertheless obscured, because instead shining as pure self-awareness (awareness of nothing other than itself) it shines as the adjunct-mixed self-awareness ‘I am this’, which entails being aware of things other than itself alone. In other words, the ego is self-awareness contaminated with awareness of other things (all of which seem to exist only in its view, just as everything perceived in a dream seems to exist only in the view of the dreamer), whereas brahman is self-awareness uncontaminated by even the slightest awareness of anything else whatsoever.

Therefore in order to be aware of itself as brahman, which is what it always actually is, all that the ego need do is to withdraw its attention from everything else by focusing it keenly on itself alone. In other words, we seem to be this ego only so long as we are aware of anything other than ourself (anything other than pure self-awareness, which is what we actually are), so when we are so keenly self-attentive that we are aware of nothing else whatsoever, we will see that we are just pure self-awareness, and hence the ego that we seemed to be will be dissolved forever in the infinite light of pure self-awareness, which is what is called brahman.

When we look outwards to see anything other than ourself, we seem to be this ego, but when we turn back within to see ourself alone, we will see that we are nothing other than pure and infinite self-awareness. This is why Bhagavan often used to say that the attention turned outwards is ego or mind, and that when the ego or mind is turned inwards it remains as ātma-svarūpa, the real nature of oneself.

In the words that Devaraja Mudaliar recorded in English, though Bhagavan would actually have spoken only in Tamil (and hence what Mudaliar refers to as ‘the Self’ is what Bhagavan would probably have referred to as ātma-svarūpa or perhaps just svarūpa, which means our real nature): ‘The mind, turned outwards, results in thoughts and objects. Turned inwards, it becomes itself the Self’ (Day by Day with Bhagavan 8-11-45: 2002 edition, page 37), and ‘The mind turned inwards is the Self; turned outwards, it becomes the ego and all the world’ (ibid. 11-1-46: page 106).

545 comments:

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Sandhya said...

World is just reflection of your mind :)

nama-rupa said...

Sandhya,
can you well believe it or do you not believe in that ?

Sandhya said...

Nama-rupa

I believe in what I said. I am trying to just understand if Michael’s view fits to what I believe in. I just love how Michael by his analysis concludes why we should ignore everything else and pay attention to only ego. I was also trying to say why we should not investigate the world because it is just a reflection of ego and nothing else.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael wrote to me in a recent email:

We cannot easily, precisely or accurately distinguish which of our actions (thoughts, words or deeds) are under the control of our free will and which are under the control of prarabdha (and many of them are driven by both simultaneously), but we have no need to do so, because all we should be concerned with is turning within to see who it is that experiences 'I am doing this'.

Michael further wrote in this email that all phenomena (including actions, whether agamya or prarabdha are thoughts, and the seeds that sprout as thoughts are called vasanas. As long as we experience ourself as this ego, we will have a mixture of vasanas within us – that is, we will have some vasanas which are part of prarabdha and some vasanas which are under the control of our free-will.

As long as we are looking away from ourself, the vasanas which are part of our prarabdha will sprout as thoughts without fail, and these thoughts will be experienced by us as our prarabdha - that is, as good and bad experiences.

At the same time, there will also be a huge number of vasanas under the control our free-will, and we have a choice to act or not act on these vasanas. That it, when any of these vasanas tries to rise as thoughts, we can either ignore the pulls of such vasanas or can act as dictated by such vasanas. We are free to supress these vasanas or even to modify them.

However, as Michael explained, we should not try to analyse or classify these vasanas in detail. It is because our aim is to discard all our vasanas, and we can do so most quickly and effectively by clinging tenaciously to self-attentiveness (svarupa-dhyana). If we cling tenaciously to self-attentiveness, we will not rise as this ego to experience any prarabdha or to do any agamya. This should be our aim.

Michael James said...

Sanjay, I did not actually say that some vāsanās are part of prārabdha (destiny or fate), as you seem to imply in your comment, but that we need not and and should not try to analyse or classify them in too much detail. Vāsanās are propensities, inclinations or urges to think and act in certain ways, so they are elements of our will, but our prārabdha may prompt some of them to sprout. However the workings of our fate and our will and how they interact are extremely complex, so we should not waste our time and effort trying to analyse or understand them in too much detail.

As I wrote to you in that email:

We cannot easily, precisely or accurately distinguish which of our actions (thoughts, words or deeds) are under the control of our free will and which are under the control of prārabdha (and many of them are driven by both simultaneously), but we have no need to do so, because all we should be concerned with is turning within to see who it is that experiences ‘I am doing this’.

All phenomena (including actions, whether āgāmya or prārabdha) are thoughts, and the seeds that sprout as thoughts are called vasanas, but since they are all non-self (anātman) we need not and and should not try to analyse or classify them in too much detail, as Bhagavan cautions us in the seventeenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?.

We should always remember that Bhagavan keeps things simple and asks us to focus on what is most basic, namely ourself as this ego. We know generally what is meant by the term viṣaya-vāsanās [inclinations or desires to experience things other than oneself], and that when they sprout as thoughts (phenomena) they tend to distract our attention away from ourself, so rather than being distracted by them we should try to cling tenaciously to self-attentiveness (svarūpa-dhyāna) [as he explains in the tenth and eleventh paragraphs of Nāṉ Yār?]. What more than this do we need to know? Why should we break our heads trying to answer questions such as the ones you have raised? Will it help us to develop more love to turn within? Will it clarify our understanding of the core principles of his teachings?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for this clarification. You had written in your email to me:

All phenomena (including actions, whether āgāmya or prārabdha) are thoughts, and the seeds that sprout as thoughts are called vasanas, but since they are all non-self (anātman) we need not and should not try to analyse or classify them in too much detail, as Bhagavan cautions us in the seventeenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?.

When I wrote whatever I wrote in my previous comment, I was perhaps trying to interpret what you have written here, namely: ‘All phenomena (including actions, whether āgāmya or prārabdha) are thoughts, and the seeds that sprout as thoughts are called vasanas, […]’

I took this to mean that our prarabdha (destiny or fate) are also thoughts, like our agamya are, and the seeds that give rise to these thoughts (both agamya and prarabdha) are vasanas. Therefore, I concluded that ‘some vasanas are part of prarabdha (destiny or fate)’. With regards.



Michael James said...

Sanjay, some of our vāsanās that rise as thoughts (whether seen as appearing inside as mental phenomena or outside as physical phenomena) do so in accordance with prārabdha (as Bhagavan implies in verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam and as I explained in a reply I wrote to you last month), but this does not mean that they are part of prārabdha.

Prārabdha is just the fruit of our past actions (that is, actions that we have done in the past according to our own will) that have been selected by Bhagavan for us to experience in this life, so it is one of the two forces that determine which of our vāsanās rise as thoughts at each moment, the other force being our own will as we are currently using it. How these two forces work side by side is subtle and complex, but it need not concern us, because our aim is just to surrender our will completely, which entails surrendering its root, the ego, which we can do only by turning within, ‘giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any thought other than ātma-cintana [self-attentiveness]’, as Bhagavan says in the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?.

Prārabdha is like the edible part of a fruit, whereas vāsanās are like the seeds of that fruit. Both are formed as a result of the use we have made of our will in the past, but as Bhagavan implies in verse 2 of Upadēśa Undiyār the edible part of the fruit perishes as soon as we experience (consume) it, whereas the seeds remain, prompting us to continue misusing our will to do the same kind of actions again and again. The only correct use of our will is to turn our attention within to see whose will it is and thereby to surrender it along the one whose will it is, namely the ego.

Action (karma) is a vast and complex ocean, whereas surrender is the simple and only effective solution, because by merely turning back to see ourself alone we can in an instance drain that ocean dry along the ego, the doer of action and the experiencer of its fruit.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for this further clarification. As you say, ‘Prarabdha is just [the edible part of a] fruit of our past actions that have been selected by Bhagavan for us to experience in this lifetime’, whereas ‘vasanas are like the seeds of that fruit’.

That means, the actual mental and physical actions that are responsible for such prarabdha to take place cannot be called prarabdha. As I understand, such actions or incidents can be said to be in accordance with prarabdha, but are not part of prarabdha. This implies that only all our ego's pleasures and pains are part of our prarabdha, but the actual actions (of mind, speech and body) which leads to such prarabdha are a result of our vishaya-vasanas.

For example, if Bhagavan has ordained that I (this ego) have to suffer extreme pain at a particular date and time, this suffering is part of my prarabdha, but the actions of my mind and body (such as trying to carelessly cross a road) which leads to such an accident is a result of my vishaya-vasanas. However, such vasanas are in accordance with my prarabdha. I hope this is what you were trying to explain? If I am wrong, please correct me.

However, as you have explained beautifully, ‘Action (karma) is a vast and complex ocean, whereas surrender is the simple and the only effective solution, because by merely turning back to see ourself alone we can in an instance drain that ocean dry along [with] the ego, the doer of action and the experiencer of its fruit’.

I thank you once again. With regards.

unmai said...

Michael,
"...the real nature of brahman will be revealed only when the ego investigates itself (its own self-awareness) and thereby dissolves back into its original state as pure self-awareness."
Although the ego dissolves back into its original state as pure self-awareness every night in deep sleep the "real nature of brahman" is thereby not revealed to the ego which in the above sense is considered as brahman in its unreal nature.

ulladu-unarvu said...

"When we look outwards to see anything other than ourself, we seem to be this ego, but when we turn back within to see ourself alone, we will see that we are nothing other than pure and infinite self-awareness. This is why Bhagavan often used to say that the attention turned outwards is ego or mind, and that when the ego or mind is turned inwards it remains as ātma-svarūpa, the real nature of oneself."
My prarabdha karma is obviously not very promising because in my experience can 'turning back within to see ourself alone' prove to be quite frustrating. Sometimes my attempts to practise keen self-attention turn out in a disastrous agony and rather end in a psychic catastrophe. Then I turn my attention outwards to enjoy the melodiousness of the singing of the birds of Arunachala. Afterwards I mostly feel better and can continue my practice.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Attention is an extremely powerful tool; we can use it in whatever we like:

Sadhu Om has said in The Path of Sri Ramana: ‘Attention itself is grace’. Suppose if you have a phobia of dogs, and you are constantly thinking about dogs. The more you give attention to that fear of dog, the stronger the fear will become. Eventually, you will not be able to go outside of your front door, because you will be so afraid that there may be a dog around. That’s because you are attending constantly to the thought of dog. Your attention to it is grace, and this grace makes the fear very strong.

So the more we attend to anything, the more that thing looms large in our mind. Suppose you want to own a Mercedes car. You are planning to own it for a long long time and therefore you are saving money for it. So because you are constantly thinking about this car, its desire becomes stronger and stronger in your mind. So attention is a very-very powerful tool.

As human beings, we all use technology we have developed. We are able to generate electricity from coal, from wind, from nuclear power – so many ways we can create electricity, and by this electricity we can do so many wonderful things. You are sitting there in Houston, I am here in London, how are we communicating? This is all the power of the human mind, and what is the basic instrument that the human mind uses in any endeavour? It’s attention.

So the world as we know it is created by our attention. We perceive things because we attend to them. So attention is the supreme power.

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

If we attend to ourself, that is grace; if we attend to other things, that is maya. Grace and maya are not two different powers, it is what we make use of that. If we think that happiness lies in owning a Mercedes car or avoiding a dog, our attention will go in that direction. But if we believe that happiness lies within ourself - happiness is our real nature – our attention will go within.

Attention is a very-very powerful tool, so we have to use it very-very carefully. People use attention in so many different ways, but we have to think what use we can make of it. All the problems of this world have been created by our own attention to this world. If we want to solve all the problems of this world in one stroke, we should attend to ourself and wake up from this dream – not only from this dream but from all dreams permanently by turning our attention away from phenomena towards ourself.

So if we face other things we are caught up in maya, but if we face ourself we are surrendering to grace and allowing grace to sweep us back to the ocean of anadi ananta akhanda sat-chit-ananda - infinite being, awareness and happiness. So the choice is ours. We can use this attention whatever way we like.

# Edited extract from Michael’s latest video dated 3rd March 2018



Mouna said...

(A reflection after watching Michael’s last part of the latest March 3rd video about deep sleep)
The case for the disappearance of phenomena once the illusion of ego is no more, sustained not only by the most profound and subtle aspects of Bhagavan teachings and/or by the understanding of our real nature in dreamless sleep is one of the hardest (yet simplest) riddles to unravel and solve by the unprepared intellect not yet ripened enough by the continuous practice of self investigation.
From within this egoverse (ego’s universe) the understanding and import of deep sleep seems cryptic and unreachable precisely because it lies within the illusory boundaries of ego’s nature, it’s identification and oneness with phenomena and limitations (I am this body).
Self investigation is that conspicuous, yet openly displayed “cheat code” to open the door of this virtual “escape room” game called life.
Furthermore, as the saying goes, the bad news is that there is indeed a very thick iron door (ego’s self-imposed, self-imagined limitations) that stands between us and reality, but the good news is that we might realize it is unlocked if we look and attend carefully to it.

Imagine you are in a room with no doors and no windows, how do you get out?...
...
Stop imagining!

Michael James said...

Sanjay, regarding your reply to my previous comment, in order for us to go deep into the practice of Bhagavan’s teachings careful and deep reasoning (manana) is necessary, but an important part of such reasoning is to understand what we should reason about and where lies the limit beyond which reasoning becomes an unnecessary distraction, because we need to avoid scattering our interest, attention and effort on reasoning beyond necessity. To understand this we need to distinguish the core and essential principles of his teachings from other supplementary elements of them.

The karma theory and everything associated with it is just one of the supplementary elements, so what he taught in this regard was for a particular purpose, which we need to understand. That purpose is just to help us free our mind from its concern with whatever we may happen to experience when we allow our attention to face outwards, away from ourself.

As he explained in the note that he wrote for his mother in December 1898, whatever is not going to happen will not happen no matter how much effort we may waste trying (by our own will) to make it happen, and whatever is going to happen will happen no matter how hard we may try (by our own will) to prevent it happening, and if we (our body, speech or mind) have to do something in order for us to experience whatever is to happen we will be made to do that, so the wise course is for us to be completely unconcerned about all such happenings and any actions our body, speech or mind may need to do (as he also emphasised in the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?). What he implies by teaching us this is that we should avoid misusing our will to do anything other than trying to be self-attentive. This is all that we need to understand regarding prārabdha and how we should use our will.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment.)

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Sanjay:

Regarding vāsanās, what we need to understand is that all phenomena (everything that appears and disappears in the outward-facing view of the ego) are just thoughts (mental phenomena), and the seeds of all thoughts are our vāsanās (whether we classify them as viṣaya-vāsanās, karma-vāsanās or whatever), which are propensities or inclinations of the ego to face outwards and engage in doing actions. Like prārabdha, such vāsanās are formed by our misuse of our will, so to eradicate them we need to practise persistently being self-attentive, which is the only correct use we can make of our will.

What is the benefit of trying to analyse the extremely complex way in which our outward-turned will (of which our vāsanās are elements) and our prārabdha work side by side? Neither should be of any concern to us. What Bhagavan taught us about them is only to help us turn within, and not to encourage use to dwell on them and build elaborate theories about them.

This is how complex philosophies and systems of religious or scientific beliefs are built up. For example, Buddha’s actual teachings were probably very simple, but generations of his followers (particularly those with more outward-turned minds) built ever more complex and competing theories from them, so much so that his original teachings have been obscured and distorted to such an extent that it is now almost impossible for us to know what he actually taught. People who are not sufficiently inclined to turn within will no doubt do the same with Bhagavan’s teachings, interpreting them in all sorts of wonderful ways (though fortunately unlike Buddha he wrote his core teachings in works such as Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and Nāṉ Yār?, so his teachings will not be distorted as easily as Buddha’s have been), but we can avoid creating elaborate theories out of them in this way by constantly bearing in mind the sole and simple purpose of all of them, which is to prompt and help us to turn our attention within to investigate what we ourself actually are.

Investigating ourself is ātma-vicāra, whereas investigating anything else such as the intricate workings of karma or the respective roles played by prārabdha and vāsanās is anātma-vicāra.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for this clarification. I think I have understood more or less whatever you have tried to explain.

As you say, ‘That purpose [of the karma theory and everything associated with it] is just to help us free our mind from its concern with whatever we may happen to experience when we allow our attention to face outwards, away from ourself’. So we should not concern ourself with this theory beyond a certain extent.

As you further imply, this karma theory teaches us that even if we want to, we cannot use our will to change anything in our outward life – that is, our worldly life is entirely under the control of Bhagavan’s will. However, Bhagavan uses our body, speech, and mind to carry out his will. If we are wise, we will always remain quiet and willing accept Bhagavan’s will in all circumstances. We can understand this by what Sri Krishna teaches us in Bhagavad Gita:

In the battle of Kurukshetra, when Arjuna came face to face with his cousins, elders, friends, and gurus, he was not willing to fight the war because he felt how he could kill his loved ones. However, Sri Krishna advised him to forget his will, because his will was of no consequence. What matters is God’s will, and, as Krishna explained, God’s will was that Arjuna will be made to fight the battle, even against his own will. Thus Krishna advised him to willing fight the war.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Michael:

So as you have explained, we should avoid misusing our free-will by trying to change things in outward life. Instead, we should remain self-attentive as much as possible. As you explain, this is all that we need to know about prarabdha and the use of our will.

Whatever we experience in our worldly life is as per prarabdha, and such experiences include: the date of our birth and death, whatever relationships we have, all our success and failures in whatever we attempt to do, all the events in our life, all our pleasures and pains and everything. There is a popular saying: ‘Not an atom can move without God’s will’.

As you explain, this world is nothing but our thoughts (mental phenomena), and the seeds which give rise to any type of thought is our vasana. These vasanas are our desires or inclinations in their seed form. These seeds manifest as thoughts and the collection of all our thoughts create this world-picture. Like prarabdha, these vasanas are also a result of the misuse of our will. That is, since in the past we have used our will to attend to things other than ourself, we have created our prarabdha and also accumulated all our vasanas. So we have to stop misusing our will by turning it within.

As you conclude: ‘Investigating ourself is atma vicara, whereas investigating anything else such as the intricate workings of karma or the respective roles played by prarabdha and vasanas is anatma-vicara’. Point well taken! With regards.

Michael James said...

Unmai, regarding your comment that ‘Although the ego dissolves back into its original state as pure self-awareness every night in deep sleep the “real nature of brahman” is thereby not revealed to the ego’, the reason for this is that the ego does not exist in sleep, so it cannot be aware of the real nature of brahman (namely pure self-awareness), which shines alone in sleep.

This is why the ego is not eradicated by the pure self-awareness that shines alone in sleep. That is, pure self-awareness shines alone in sleep as a result of the subsidence (dissolution) of the ego, whereas in order to be eradicated the ego must subside (dissolve) as a result of the shining alone of pure self-awareness. In sleep the ego subsides because of tiredness, and then pure self-awareness remains alone, so in waking or dream the ego must turn its entire attention back on itself in order for it to experience the shining of pure self-awareness alone, which will thereby instantly eradicate it forever, because it seems to exist only when it attends to anything other than itself, since it is nothing but an erroneous form of self-awareness — an awareness of ourself as something other than pure self-awareness, which alone is what we actually are.

Michael James said...

Ulladu-unarvu, regarding your comment that “My prarabdha karma is obviously not very promising because in my experience can ‘turning back within to see ourself alone’ prove to be quite frustrating”, turning back within to see ourself alone has nothing to do with prārabdha, because prārabdha is the fruit of our past actions whereas turning within is not an action but a cessation or subsidence of all actions.

As Bhagavan often used to say, prārabdha affects only the outward-facing mind, so it can never restrict or impede our turning within. The only thing that impedes our turning back within to see ourself alone is our desire to face outwards to experience things other than ourself. Therefore turning back within is not a matter of destiny (prārabdha) but a matter of will.

If we have sufficient love to turn back within to see ourself alone we can do so easily, but so long as our desire to experience anything else is stronger than our love to see ourself alone, turning back within will be a struggle — a struggle between our competing desires.

However, the more we try to turn back within the more our love to do so will increase and our desire to experience other things will correspondingly decrease. Therefore with persistent effort we will certainly succeed, and our effort to turn back within can never be impeded by our prārabdha. In fact our prārabdha has been ordained by Bhagavan in such a way that it will be most favourable to increasing our love to turn back within and our corresponding vairāgya (freedom from desire to attend to anything else).

ulladu-unarvu said...

Michael,
thanks for your reply. Let express myself more concrete:
I thought, that I had actually to experience (thank God only) sometimes frustrating agony during looking within is perhaps directed by prarabdha or ordained by God.So when it happens that my attempt of looking inward runs in an awful mess then I writhe in pain. That pain I considered as regulated by prarabdha.
What you assume as the only impediment at my turning back within: In the moment when I sit down to try to look keenly within I certainly do not have any desire to face outwards to experience things other than myself but I have the only desire to be what I really am.

unmai said...

Michael,
many thanks for your comment. Yes, that grotesque situation is what I tried to express:
In order to experience the shining alone of pure self-awarenessin in our waking or dream state even the fact that brahman/pure self-awareness shines alone in sleep is of no advantageous use to us.

Rafael said...

After reading many stories about Bhagavan devotees i had a doubt. Bhagavan says "whatever is to happen will happen (or not)" according each one karma and so on. However, it seems rather common to Bhagavan to "interfere" with the lives of devotees, sometimes preventing thinks to happen, garanteing salvation to some or modifing things considered certain. Being Bhagavan the personification of Grace, are they real modifications in karma or Bhagavan was part of the karmic plan? What do you think?

ALL the best!

Rafael

Sanjay Lohia said...

Rafael, our prarabdha (destiny) is ordained by Bhagavan, and he has designed it for our highest spiritual good. We have to look closely at our lives to understand this truth. However, can he modify or change or halt something from happening which he has already ordained? He can do so because the lawmaker is always greater than his law, and therefore he can change or override his earlier decisions. There is nothing impossible for his grace.

However, the question is not whether God can change our destiny, but does God change our destiny? We can take it that in 99.999% cases he will not alter our destiny, because he has decided are destinies keeping our spiritual needs in mind, and therefore why should he satisfy all our current whims and fancies? It may seem to us that God is answering some of our prayers, but that is because these outcomes are already there in our destiny.

Why should Bhagavan change our destiny? His aim is not to give us some temporary happiness, some ephemeral pleasures or some worldly comforts, but his aim is to give us infinite and permanent happiness. Therefore he will give all sorts of trouble and discomfort so that we are sick and tired of our worldly life and look for something beyond. So it is foolishness to pray to Bhagavan for change in our destiny.

Does God grant us salvation? Yes and no, because it is only his grace which is making our sadhana possible, and it only his grace which will finally consume us. However, Bhagavan will not consume us without our consent and will, and we give him this consent only by repeatedly trying to turn within. As he says in the paragraph 12 of Nan Yar?:

God and guru are in truth not different. Just as what has been caught in the jaws of a tiger will not return, so those who have been caught in the glance of guru’s grace will surely be saved by him and will never instead be forsaken; nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly along the path that guru has shown.

This tiger (Bhagavan) is willing to consume us here and now, but are willing to surrender to him here and now? If we are honest, we have to admit that we are not. Our practice of self-investigation is to prepare us for this final surrender.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay said, "He can do so because the lawmaker is always greater than his law".

I don't concur, I think that works a little different than this rather simple idea.

The problem is that we see everything from the viewpoint of the ajnani with its limiting ideas of this phenomenal world and especially confused ideas about cause and effect. There is no cause and effect. Even for the ajnani, it just seems that way.

Bhagavan seemingly interfered with some of the lives of the devotees but was that planned and executed within the cause and effect rational? No, because there is no time, thus whatever grace has come to a devotee is or was already a done deal and really not planned at all.

Now for most it maybe difficult to ponder about the ramifications of no time and it really doesn't matter at all since time is part of the dream world anyway. Are we really a devotee who receives grace? No. Again it just seems that way. It is part of the 'process' of seemingly becoming realized.

Nothing really matters but turning within. Everything else is just procrastination and entertainment for the mind. Including stories about destiny, 'free will', etc. There is no "misuse of free will" because that free will cannot change the outwards actions of our life. That free will is reduced to either liking or not liking one's outward actions. And that just creates new karma. So our free will should be only used for turning within, anything else is just an illusion.

ekatma vastu said...

Anonymous,
you say "Nothing really matters but turning within."
What exactly is improving at all by turning within - particularly in your own practice and experience ? Is mere turning within perhaps an improper tool ? I did not make good experiences with that method because it seems that one rather blocks our real nature to swallow up the ego's excrescences from within.

Anonymous said...

Hello ekatma vastu, from my experience “turning within” is already a success when the mind doesn’t get caught up in all of these thought stories. To catch early enough the mind’s tendencies to get lost in these stories brings peace for me, of course it is a minor peace but still an improvement to the agitation if one believes these stories.
I am not sure why you think that Self-Inquiry (= turning within) is blocking our real nature; I’d say it is just the opposite.
Turning outwardly is feeding the ego, turning within is starving it of its power of imagination. There is no need to turn outwardly at all, whatever your body has to do it will do no matter if you have your mind turned within or if you believe you are doing it. If that is understood and accepted then there is no cause of worry since the outcome will be the same, regardless if you identify with the action or not.



ekatma vastu said...

Anonymous,
is not "catching early enough the mind’s tendencies to get lost in these stories" just a mind-born agitation/activity ?
I do not speak out in favour of turning (the mind) outwardly.
Is not keeping the mind so quiet as much as possible and then waiting in that fully relaxed position for the inner clearing-up operations done by the inner guru/self as our real nature a good variant of turning within ?
The reason why I think so is because by plain/simple turning within I often landed up in the inhospitable nowhere, a kind of frustrating emptiness. Quite similar experiences are reported by the recent comments above of "Ulladu-unarvu".

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael: Bhagavan is what is shining in us as ‘I’. So the source of his teachings is ourself, our real self, our pure self-awareness.

Devotee: But he left his body?

Michael: He himself said, ‘Where can I go? I am here’. It is because he is the all-pervading space of pure awareness in which all these things appear and disappear. Where is that to go? Everything that seems to exist, seems to exist only within that infinite space of self-awareness. He is that and you are that.

So Bhagavan says, ‘If you want to know me, know yourself’. What is the purest way of expressing our love for Bhagavan? It is by turning within. He has appeared very graciously outwardly in a human form to tell us, ‘turn within’, but even before he appeared in human form and even long after that human form is gone, he is always shining in us as ‘I’.

So the real Ramana bhakti is svatma-bhakti - love for our own self, love to turn within to be aware of ourself alone.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 10th March 2018

My note: The real Ramana bhakti is svatma-bhakti. This is an extremely important point to remember, otherwise we will worship Bhagavan only as a name and form.


nama-rupa said...

Sanjay Lohia,
what is the real gain which we can expect from 'turning within' ?

nama-rupa said...

Sanjay Lohia,
what is the real gain of 'being aware of ourself alone' ?

Anonymous said...

what is the gain of turning within?

doing so one will have answered their own question

its all a matter of practise

what is the gain of learning to ride a bicycle?



Sanjay Lohia said...

Nama-Rupa, if you are satisfied with your present condition – that is, if you have no problems now, there is no need for you to turn within and be aware of yourself as you really are. However, if you are not satisfied with your present condition, turning within is the only real remedy to remove all your dissatisfaction and problems.

Why are we dissatisfied? It is because we experience ourself as this body. When we are infinite being-awareness-happiness, how can we be satisfied by being confined within the limits of the body? Therefore, if we turn within and experience ourself as we really are, we will remove all our limitations. This is real freedom or liberation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

All Bhagavan’s teachings are pointing out the fallacy in all that we believe, all that we hold to be true, all that we hold most dear.

So Bhagavan’s teachings are impelling us towards investigation. If we are not investigating ourself, we are wasting our lives, basically. There is nothing more important than for us to investigate what we actually are.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 10th March 2018

My note: Very powerful reminder: ‘If we are not investigating ourself, we are wasting our life’. Are we listening? Not really, because if we were, we wouldn’t have been here participating on this blog. However, we are on a journey, and we are moving in the right direction. We do not know how far or how near we are to our goal, and we need not know it. We just need to persevere from moment to moment. Bhagavan will take care of the rest.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Devotee: Michael, if our ego is destroyed, how are we to function in our daily life? Do we require our mind to carry out all our mundane activities?

Michael: If the 1st person ceases to exist by investigating the truth of the 1st person, 2nd and 3rd persons will also cease to exist. Then where is there any daily life to function in?

D: But we still need to eat, talk, walk, and go to work.

M: Who needs to eat, talk, walk, and go to work?

D: The body.

M: The body and the body exists in whose view?

D: Ego

M: Ego. If we investigate the ego, and if it ceases to exist, then where is the body? There is no body, no world, no Big-Bang, no Genesis, no religion, no science, no philosophy, nothing.

D: I mean, what is the point of nothing?

M: It is not 'nothing', but it is the only thing. According to Bhagavan, it is anadi, ananta, akhanda sat-chit-ananda. What can be better than infinite happiness? If there is anything else that you prefer to have instead of infinite happiness, you can continue enjoying your present state.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 3rd March 2018




nama-rupa said...

Anonymous,
riding a bicycle does not lay claim to be the key for knowing one's real nature.

nama-rupa said...

Sanjay Lohia,
in my practice of turning within there was neither removed all my 'dissatisfaction and problems' nor did I experience myself as I really am. So for what is it (actually) good ?

transcendental glory said...

"If we investigate the ego, and if it ceases to exist, ..."
To manage to bring about the cessation of the ego by mere investigation of the mind is presumably a work of thousands of years. Till then we will play the roll of the ego's vassal. So the infinite happiness which we are having in prospect seems to be in practice at best an idea of the well-meaning Bhagavan Ramana. Practical examples of the annihilation of the ego - put into practice - are certainly or at least apparently very rare, even in the holy land of Siva.

Mouna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mouna said...

(An aside funny note on Michael’s recent video in London)

Dear Michael,
I am really really sorry to inform you that it inevitably is in your prarabdha not to become the president of the United States no matter how hard you might try, even if you become a USA citizen... for the simple fact that to be POTUS you need to be born in the actual US territory (what is called the law of the land).
But don’t lose your hopes! The highest office that as a citizen not born in the USA one can reach is to be Governor like was the case with Swatzeneger!
As much as I and many here would have liked to have you as president, is not going to happen....
I know you will be able to surmount these sad news, but believe me, your contribution to humankind is much more appreciated the way things are right now, as a commentator of Bhagavan’s teachings clearing our understanding of so many misunderstandings! So in many ways all of us here really appreciate you are not the president.
And please, don’t even try to become Prime Minister either (which eventually you could)!!!!

Joyfully yours,
M


Michael James said...

Thank you, Mouna, for your kind and consoling words, but if we believe the present POTUS, not being born a US citizen should not be an obstacle to my ambition, because according to him the previous POTUS had a forged birth certificate, so why shouldn’t I do the same? Moreover, the law of the land you refer to could be fake news, intended to deter me. And even if some people believe it is true, I can always make use of alternative facts.

Anonymous said...

ekatma vastu, you asked “is not -catching early enough the mind’s tendencies to get lost in these stories- just a mind-born agitation/activity ?”

No, it is a synonym for noticing one's attention on second and third person objects and the consequential shift of one's attention back to the first person.

Technically it is the mind, but then according to your approach, who is keeping the mind so quiet as much as possible? It is the mind too. However trying to suppress thoughts with the mind cannot work and will backfire. There should be no intention to get rid of thoughts, but just being attentive to the first person or “I”. That is a subtle point and may only become obvious after long practice.

Anonymous said...

I really do not want to have Michael as president for many reasons, the biggest is that this job is a nightmare and I never understood how somebody could possibly want to have that job.

Secondly, who will be POTUS is obviously ordained by Bhagavan and that is true for every head of state on this planet. And one can include Hitler and Stalin too, two jivas who 'caused' a lot of suffering and yet it was Bhagavan's will.

The notion that a "good" person as a head of state would be a good thing is naive and not really understanding why jivas seemingly incarnate on this planet. Anyway, my two cents on this subject.

Anonymous said...

Now before people get a heart attack, the reason why the idea that in general a "good" person as head of state would be a good thing is a false and naive notion is that one sees things only from the extremely limited and flawed viewpoint of a jiva. That desire for a "good" person is indirectly assuming that one knows better than Bhagavan who should be president.

In other words, Donald Trump is the most perfect choice for POTUS at this time, as is this guy in North Korea and all seemingly "bad" politicians including the very few 'good' ones. Whatever happens on this planet is exactly how Bhagavan wants to have it, it is always ever perfect and right.

ekatma vastu said...

Anonymous,
thanks for your reply. Now I try to reform/resume my practice of turning within/self-attentiveness in order to become not unsure about my way of self-investigation. After all I should overcome any difficulties/troubles/uneveness/disquiet.

beyond the mind said...

Anonymous,
to say "Whatever happens on this planet is exactly how Bhagavan wants to have it, it is always ever perfect and right." I consider as only an idle thought - forged by the limited mind.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

You said in your post dated 18 March 2018 at 02:10

"Secondly, who will be POTUS is obviously ordained by Bhagavan and that is true for every head of state on this planet. And one can include Hitler and Stalin too, two jivas who 'caused' a lot of suffering and yet it was Bhagavan's will."

According to Bhagavan's teachings there is only one jiva not multiple jivas. Hitler and Stalin are just projections of your mind along with me according to Bhagavan. This part of his teaching can be quite to hard to accept I know.

I just thought I would point that out in a jovial way.

Best wishes.

Venkat said...

Our illusions about the world are multi-layered.

Hitler undoubtedly killed millions, but we always mention him, and not the German people who followed him and permitted him to arise. The Japanese killed and committed atrocities on millions during WW2, but are overlooked, because now they are allies. Churchill was an unashamed racist, used poison gas in Iraq in the 1920s, authorised the fire bombing of Dresden to cause terror amongst the civilian population, starved India, in order to feed his well-fed troops, etc, etc. The west, under US hegemony, killed millions in Vietnam, Cambodia, Indochina, in order to prevent a people's rebellion. And even recently the West has pursued a war under false pretences in Iraq and caused millions to die and fundamentally destabilised the region.

The point is there is no black and white about relative truth. By and large, all leaders are corrupt. The corruption is there from the minute one wants to be a leader.

Bhagavan knew this. Hence the only way to peace - internal and external - is to turn away from the world, reject your desires (for leadership, money, fame) and fears (to be alone, to not be a follower), and look within for what is true. In vedanta, eka jiva is a teaching method - to turn away from the world, to not worry about public opinion, to not be a follower or leader. The real truth is there is not even one separate jiva.

beyond the mind said...

Venkat,
all our illusions are multi-layered. In the same way one may find that all occurences have their causal history. The real truth is...in any case just beyond the mind.

beyond the mind said...

In my modest opinion: Hitler and Stalin were only the tip of the iceberg of prarabdha karma. The iceberg itself was built long before by dense ignorance of jiva or jivas.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The teachings contained in Nan Yar? are the teachings that Bhagavan gave when he was perhaps 20 or 21 years old. These teachings were given to Sivaprakasam Pillai when he came and asked Bhagavan, ‘Swami, who am I?’, and from that a series of questions ensued, and Bhagavan gave all these teachings at that time. Because the questions Sivaprakasam Pillai asked were very deep, Bhagavan gave very deep answers.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 10th March 2018

My note: Michael often tells us, if we read and understand Nan Yar?, Ulladu Narpadu and Upadesa Undiyar, we need no other spiritual teachings. They contain the essence of the essence of the entire advaita-vedanta. Just imagine, Bhagavan gave the teachings contained in Nan Yar? when he was merely 20 or 21 years old.

From where did all this knowledge or understanding come to Bhagavan? He had hardly studied any spiritual texts when he was in school? So how could a 20-year-old give out the very essence of vedanta? Isn’t it a great wonder? These teachings emanated from pure self-awareness, which is his svarupa (true form) and which is also our svarupa. So if we want, we can ‘read’ all these teachings directly from within our svarupa, the very core of our being.

Also look at the first question Sivaprakasam Pillai asked Bhagavan: ‘Swami, who am I?’ Michael often says: can there be a more perfect disciple than him? Bhagavan has appeared amongst us to answer this very question? So we should be indebted to Sivaprakasam Pillai. He is an important player in the Ramana leela (the divine play of Ramana). Of course, we can easily add the names of Muruganar, Sadhu Om and Michael James in this list of players, but Sivaprakasam Pillai was the ‘opening batsman’ who set the ball rolling, as it were.

Whatever Bhagavan taught us after Nan Yar was merely an expansion or clarification or refinement of this text.

Sanjay Lohia said...

On the topic of Hitler and Stalin:

We may feel that Hitler and Stalin were cruel, and in contrast, Gandhi was an epitome of peace, but if we look at them closely these are mere ideas in our mind. It is our dislike for Hitler and Stalin that make them appear to be evil, and it is our like for Gandhi that makes him appear to be a saint.

However, these very likes and dislikes are our problems, because they are a result of our vasanas. Our aim should be to give up all our likes and dislikes. I am sure, to Bhagavan there was no difference between a Hitler and a Gandhi.

Venkat said...

beyond the mind,

Simply assigning everything to prarabdha karma is an abdication, an escape. The point that Bhagavan and others teach is to free yourself from your conditioning, your identification with a group, with a leader . . . and ultimately to free yourself from the identification with an 'I'. If you do the latter, then all others will be there anyway. And you won't need to follow anyone, because you are not trying to gain some benefit from that followership. And you won't need to lead / get rich, because such a desire cannot arise if there is no ego. That is the freedom of vedanta.

There is no value in hiding behind prarabdha karma. Face the world, see it as it is and do what is right - that is, in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna's nishkama karma (desireless action) advice to Arjuna. And he advised Arjuna, don't escape by pretending you are a sannyasi, when you are not.

Anonymous said...

venkat, who is hiding behind prarabdha karma? From all of the responses I can only see attachment to the happenings of the world and a personal preference for a certain outcome. In your response you say, 'The point is there is no black and white about relative truth. By and large, all leaders are corrupt. The corruption is there from the minute one wants to be a leader.'

But with that sentence you are just describing a projection of your mind, an idea how mind (in that case "yours", or is there one?) is interpreting happenings in a conjured up phenomenal world. As a sadhu, why having that attachment to this particular viewpoint? It is really irrelevant, and to realize that is not an escape. That is a faulty assumption of mind. But I leave you with that belief, I have no interest to convince you otherwise.

And somebody pointed out that there is only one jiva. Yes, but if that is the case why are the jivas on this forum arguing as if there are other jivas and with that consequently 'good' and 'bad' things? There is a certain schizophrenia going on here, on one side people accept Bhagavan's message that the mind is projecting this world and acting and reacting to this world is like a monkey looking into a mirror and getting angry, afraid, etc. depending what he sees there. People here unanimously accept that, however they cannot let go of their attachment to that projection. If Self-Inquiry has not yielded that yet, why not at least conceptually accepting it and stop entertaining your own projection?

Anyway, just some points thrown in here, it is offered as food for thought, not a claim of the truth.

Venkat, I also believe that your example of the Bhagavad Gita is incomplete and with that false. However I do not want to go into a debate with that, I gladly leave you with your opinion.

Let's do some Self-Inquiry.

Anonymous said...

Actually, believing that the ego could change or direct the outward actions of the body is the real escape. It is re-enforcing not only the existence of the ghost ego but it is also denying that everything what happens (outwardly) is Divine Will and not the ego's. Surrender is the antidote of that, but that may not have been completely understood.

The actions of our bodies are determined by birth according to Bhagavan, thus if you are going to hit someone that was not because you are a bad person but it was part of karma (from a nebulous past). Bhagavan's teaching suggest to not identify with that action, with ANY action. So even though hitting or hurting someone is ethically wrong, it is absolutely wrong to feel guilty or remorse about that action because with that you emphasize that you believe that you are that body. And obviously, according to Bhagavan we are not and we should never entertain that notion.

How can one ever lose that attachment if one keeps identifying with one's body? What is important is not what the body does BUT how the mind reacts to it. The goal is to completely dissociate (inwardly) with the actions of one's body, as long as there is the thought 'my body' we are bound.

Of course, the whole karma theory is nebulous at best, but still a better conceptual tool than to be concerned about what politicians are in power. THAT is totally irrelevant! The more we can withdraw (inwardly) from this phenomenal world the better it is. Whatever outward actions we are destined to do will happen, our job as a sadhu is to not identify with that.

. said...

multiplicity is seen, yet known to be not two...and not one

Anonymous said...

Hello ., that is a nice quote, however that is only directly experienced by a Jnani, otherwise it is just an imagination and is potentially more misleading than helpful since that concept comes from the mind. I suppose you are just quoting this without implying that this is your actual experience.

R Viswanathan said...

I will add below a passage from the same book (of Dr John Grimes; p148-149). Hopefully, it might not be considered as irrelevant to the theme discussed in the article - the difference between the illusory nature of the world and that of the individual.

"However, while the world is an illusory manifestation of Brahman, the individual is Brahman itself appearing under the limitations that form part of that illusory universe.

Why do I point out this distinction? I do so because Ramana's focus was always on the Self. The world was not of primary importance; the individual was. He said "Why worry yourself about the world and what happens to it after Self-realization? First realize the Self." He was not merely a philosopher espousing a theory. The world is known as seen. The individual is considered as seer as well as the seen. While all of the objects in the world are illusory, only part of the seer is. The individual is a complex of the Self and the not-Self.This is obvious from statements such as, "I know myself", where 'myself' is referring to some aspect of the mind-body complex. Remember that while the world is a superimposition upon Brahman, Brahman is not a superimposition upon the world. On the other hand, there is a mutual superimposition between the Self (Atman) and not-Self (anatman), i.e. features of Atman are superimposed upon the Atman. Because of this, the inner organ, which is inert, appears conscious and the Self, which is infinite, appears finite. Realization consists in destroying, not the individual as a spiritual being, but only aspects of it, like its finitude and separateness from other selves."

. said...

Anonymous - There are no Jnanis, only Jnana. It's your experience as well, but you imagine it to be otherwise. Imagination is a concept, and that's what misleads.

Venkat said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for your thought-provoking response. I would agree with you - there is no point in being attached to the world. I hope I am not attached to any belief, but rather to identify and root out those hidden beliefs / assumptions.

I only raised the point I did in order to highlight the cliched comment about Hitler and Stalin, without the realisation that the whole world is full of such folk. This is another form of illusion, group-think that we are conditioned into - seeing the "other" as evil and "us" as noble and good.

The point about Bhagavan's teaching that the mind projects the world is moot. Did Bhagavan literally mean that the ego-mind projects the world, or that the world is non-different from the jiva, and it is our conditioning, our maya that makes us project an identification with this body-mind, as different from other body-minds, and thereby projects likes / dislikes, desires / fears?

There are a variety of excerpts from Talks, from Murugunar's and Lakshmana Sarma's written words, that the world does not disappear on extinction of the ego, it is just seen as a mirage, and that no importance is attached to it.

If you do hold to the viewpoint that the ego-mind has actually projected the phenomenal world, and that it disappears on enlightenment, that begs the question why has our ego-mind projected Bhagavan, and more importantly how can we trust this ego-mind in its projection of Bhagavan's teaching, and our ego-mind's liking of Bhagavan's teaching? And why Bhagavan's teaching and not that of Hitler?

Bhagavan also said that all that a jnani does is for the sake of others, and not for himself - as does the Bhagavad Gita.

When he disrupted a hornet's nest, he felt remorse and allowed the hornets to continually sting him. So I am not sure you can conclude that Bhagavan taught that you should not feel remorse for an action. I think his advice would be to make amends where you can, accept the karma from your actions, and then move on.

Vedanta is not at all about acting irresponsibly, and putting it down to destiny. It is the most ethical of all philosophies, because rather than give out commandments, it simply says examine, moment to moment, the motive of your actions, and strive to act desire-lessly, without a personal motive.

Bhagavan's life was exemplary of this.

venkat said...

Just remembered this quote from Nisargadatta, that says it far more eloquently than I:

"Remember nothing you perceive is your own. Nothing of value can come to you from outside [as you right said anonymous]; it is only your own feeling and understanding that are relevant and revealing.

A man who knows that he is neither body nor mind cannot be selfish, for he has nothing to be selfish for. Or you may say he is equally "selfish" on behalf of everybody he meets; everybody's welfare is his own. The feeling "I am the world, the world is myself" becomes quite natural; once it is established, there is just no way of being selfish. To be selfish means to covet, acquire, accumulate on behalf of the part against the whole . . . When the centre of selfishness is no longer, all desires for pleasure and fear of pain cease; one is no longer interested in being happy; beyond happiness there is pure intensity, inexhaustible energy, the ecstasy of giving from a perennial source."

Mouna said...

Dear D. Viswanathan, greetings.

There are many statements in this posting that are really confusing and some even completely wrong (or put it in a more compasionate way, badly articulated).

"However, while the world is an illusory manifestation of Brahman”
Wrong (or badly articulated).
We can’t attribute verbs to Brahman. Brahman doesn’t manifest, create, destroy, mantains (etc..) anything.
Brahman is, period. (Maybe we can only add to that equation, “knows itself by itself”)
Does the rope manifests a snake? no, through the eyes of a separate observer, the snake is projected unto a rope.
No observer, no snake.
From the point of view of ignorance (ajnana), we explain the snake surimposition as mithya created by maya (ego/mind/I-thought, etc..). It is of the outmost importance to remark here that it is from the point of view of the observer, brahman doesn’t have a point of view.

”...the individual is Brahman itself appearing under the limitations that form part of that illusory universe”
Very confusing at best.
Should it be rephrased?: ego projects and identifies itself with limitations such as I am this body, completely confused about its real nature, consciousness/existence/limitlessness.

"The world is known as seen. The individual is considered as seer as well as the seen. While all of the objects in the world are illusory, only part of the seer is.”
Confusing.
So… is the seer considered as seer and seen or not, as the first part of the phrase dictates? is the world separate from the seer?...

"On the other hand, there is a mutual superimposition between the Self (Atman) and not-Self (anatman), i.e. features of Atman are superimposed upon the Atman.”
????? Not even bending my mind 180 degrees I can understand this phrase...

"Because of this, the inner organ, which is inert, appears conscious and the Self, which is infinite, appears finite. Realization consists in destroying, not the individual as a spiritual being, but only aspects of it, like its finitude and separateness from other selves." ”
Confusing at best.
Would’t be much simpler to say, as Bhagavan does, that ego is the apparent know between self and the illusory inert phenomena?
From another point of view, realization consists in destroying everything, everything meaning all phenomena built upon perceptions, sensations, thoughts, emotions including the thought of being an individual, which is one of the most scariest things in this virtual dream called life...

Viswanathan, I think that I get the general idea of what you were trying to expound here, but unfortunately the choice of words in those quotes from that book don’t clarify much the basic principles dictated by Bhagavan, quite the contrary.
If we only stick to the simple, I think we will be much better off.

Warm regards my friend,
Mouna

Anonymous said...

Hello again ., Jnana is a concept too.

transcendental glory said...

Mouna,
perhaps or obviously you mean "apparent knot" instead of "apparent know" ?

Mouna said...

Thanks TG, that is what what was meant...

M

Anonymous said...

venkat, no, the phenomenal world does not disappear after realization, the perception (bad and insufficient word) of it will change. Bhagavan stresses that we first have to consider everything but the Self as unreal. Why (and I am sure you know)? Because of our addiction to take the second and third persons object for real WITHOUT being aware or not acknowledging the substratum of all of these objects = Self.

Once one is firmly established in Self and after realization paradoxically (and that is paraphrased from a quote by Bhagavan) there is the simultaneous recognition that the phenomenal world, Maya, thoughts, etc are real in the way that they gain their reality from the Self. That what has to be shunned now is no more a problem and this world is still there. Then thoughts and events are not a problem at all anymore, it is not touching the Jnani.

Some may think they can take a short cut and believe their conceptual understanding of this matter is enough to be realized but before there is the actual direct experience of no difference whatsoever without being pulled back into second and third person objects this won't fly.

There are many words, Jnana, sat-chit-ananda, etc etc but they cannot and will never describe what That really is, it cannot be fathomed by the mind. And I am talking about the fictitious entity or mind, because there is Self, and then miraculously there is a first person or "I" what is pure light according to Bhagavan and then when that I attends to second and third person objects it becomes seemingly the (fictitious) mind. But that seemingly outward action or movement is paradoxically not real, the outward moving mind gives it its own reality in believing it.

Due to the paradoxical nature there is much room for confusion for mind since it cannot deal with paradoxes at all.

Mouna said...

anonymous,

"no, the phenomenal world does not disappear after realization, the perception (bad and insufficient word) of it will change.”
If realization is defined as the disappearance/exincton/anhililation/etc of ego, and if the only moment in “time" when ego is not is in deep sleep, then by simple logic, deep sleep is the best approximation of what the anihilation of ego (realization) means.
As far as I know, maybe your experience is different (that I doubt), in deep sleep there are no perceptions, feelings, sensations or emotions.
So then, according to this simple logic, after realization, the phenomenal world will definitely disappear, as it does in deep sleep.
Bhagavan adapted his teachings according to the understanding of the questioner (how many times we have to repeat it?) so quoting Bhagavan saying this or that to sustain a specific argument is incomplete understanding of his teachings. If we base his teachings (specifically what he himself wrote, not the hearsays of others) on our own experience, all this will become much clearer and simpler.

"Once one is firmly established in Self and after realization paradoxically (and that is paraphrased from a quote by Bhagavan) there is the simultaneous recognition that the phenomenal world, Maya, thoughts, etc are real in the way that they gain their reality from the Self.”
That is exactly what ego/maya does, borrows existence and knowledge from self and considers the phenomenal world as real.

"Due to the paradoxical nature there is much room for confusion...”
Couldn’t agree more

Anonymous said...

venkat, I am afraid that Vedanta is a philosophy which has to be dropped eventually, if you want to be ethical then you have to incarnate again and again until your desire to be ethical is gone. Same goes for love and all these other virtues.

Paradoxically, once one has let go of all of these virtues and desires and after realization, all these virtues are effortlessly present or inherent (again there is no sufficient word to express that).

That hornet nest story of Bhagavan is a learning story which touches a different area of understanding, that cannot be used as evidence that one has to be apologetic per se. Who apologizes? If you want to apologize then that desire will create another incarnation. It depends where the fictitious jiva is on his fictitious journey. After the transition from an animal incarnation to a human incarnation one behaves as an animal without any rules of conduct and respect for others, we live as human predators. Then after countless incarnations doing that and through grace we begin to adhere to a rule of conduct with more countless incarnations and finally we come to the point where we do not want to favor good karma anymore but want to TRANSCEND it.

Because good karma is as much as bad karma an obstacle for realization.

Well, that's the explanation why Jnanis suggest ethics and certain aids, but all that has to be let go after a certain maturity. Because there is no one who is ethical, it just was used so immature seekers who cannot understand the deeper meaning of transcendence have still ways to move towards that direction.

It is no joke but ANY concept or idea, whatever you hold dear, has to be let go, there is no other way. We have to completely surrender everything what comes up in our minds.

So, the earlier you let go of Vedanta (or any other philosophy) the sooner you'll be on track for realization.

. said...

Anonymous - when asked by Sivaprakasam Pillai ‘Who am I?’, Ramana answered 'Knowledge alone is I'. Do you think he was referring to a concept?

Anonymous said...

Mouna, the phenomenal world in deep sleep only disappears because we identify with the body. After realization there is no difference between deep sleep, dream and the so-called waking world.

The phenomenal does not disappear, after realization it is recognized that the phenomenal world is contained within Self. But that is not entirely true either since nobody but a Jnani knows how that is since 'Jnana' is beyond any spatial and timely parameters, it is incomprehensible.

I believe it is wrong to postulate this dogma of a vanishing phenomenal world. It is a concept as many and I don't find it helpful at all and it actually creates more confusion as I can see on this forum. Why don't we pursue Self-inquiry instead and 'experience' it first hand. Why squabble about something NOBODY on this forum has the authority to explain unless there is a Jnani who kept quiet so far.

Anonymous said...

Hello ., that depends how you understand "Knowledge alone is I". That sentence itself is a concept, what Bhagavan was hinting to is not. "Knowledge alone is I" is entirely worthless and irrelevant unless one finds out practically what he was hinting at. AND, he was not talking of the knowledge of mind which is not worth a fathom.

. said...

Anonymous - how you understand 'Knowledge alone is I', depends on how you know yourself, 'I'.

Anonymous said...

Hello ., "you" cannot know 'I'.

By the way, what is the point of your comments? I am always open for somebody very 'knowledgeable' to teach me something. What do you want to teach me?

Mouna said...

She/he without name, aka anonymous,

" After realization there is no difference between deep sleep, dream and the so-called waking world”
Of course, because there is no more “body” to experience anything.

"The phenomenal does not disappear, after realization it is recognized that the phenomenal world is contained within Self. “
Recognized by who?
Contained within self? Did you think about what you are saying? self is not a container otherwise dual, is full of emptiness (metaphorically speaking), or put it in other words, full of only itself.

"I believe it is wrong to postulate this dogma of a vanishing phenomenal world.”
I think the dogma is the vedantic position that we can eat the cake and have the cake after eating it.

"Why squabble about something NOBODY on this forum has the authority to explain unless there is a Jnani who kept quiet so far.”
Tell me, no, really, tell me, how do you know that?… (and I am not talking about mouna here)
Is there a Jnana crystal ball or something?

" Why don't we pursue Self-inquiry instead and 'experience' it first hand.
That is exactly what I am talking about.

(PS: not related to this topic, I am still wondering why people used the anonymous id instead of being less personality driven and acknowledge their real name or their identity in the blogger id. I know, there is always “we are in a free country/blog/etc.." here and all those excuses born out of an anonymity well rooted in our sacred internet virtual world. Not that I care too much, but I always thought there is some fear behind taking stand behind our anonymous persona-lity, fear of being exposed as saying stupid things which maybe in the end will be demonstrated to be the case. I know I’ll get the full load of dirt for thinking this way, but also that I couldn’t care less, although sometimes is annoying…)

Anonymous said...

Mouna, looking at your last comment we have arrived at the point where we argue about the proper conceptual understanding (within the limits of the inferior mind) and with that ego has risen (actually it is always present on this blog) and is starting to grow. By the way, don't you think it is quite obvious that there is no Jnani commenting on this forum?

And yes, I cannot know that. Common sense and the fact that Jnanis, with a living body, are extremely rare is supporting my assumption. But if you like to argue for the arguments sake, be my guest Mouna. I reckon we need a time out.

. said...

Mouna - it's 'Who am I?' not 'Who are you?'. (I'm kidding.)

Mouna said...

"By the way, don't you think it is quite obvious that there is no Jnani commenting on this forum?
As I told you before, I don't believe in "Jnanis", I do in "Jnana"

Let's call it a day my friend, you are right.

But it's all well anyways.
M

Mouna said...

.

"it's 'Who am I?' not 'Who are you?'."

right on the dot! or right on, dot!

:)

Anonymous said...

"I don't believe in "Jnanis", fair enough. Now if you can also stop believing in Jnana and other ideas of your mind you are well ahead for realization.

Anonymous said...

To play Devil's advocate, if you don't believe in Jnanis, why are you paying attention at all to Bhagavan's teaching? From where is the idea or concept of Jnana communicated from? That must be from some Jnani in the past you are not believing in. You are not making sense my friend.

Mouna, who really here is wanting to have the cake and is eating it too? Funny how quickly the mind becomes clever and goes on thin ice (and I am not excluding myself from that).

Anonymous said...

Hello ., you said a few comments back "There are no Jnanis, only Jnana. It's your experience as well, but you imagine it to be otherwise. Imagination is a concept, and that's what misleads. "

Well, it feels like you want to sound clever here but that whole comment is frankly nonsense. I do not know what drove you to that comment, what cleverness your mind wants to reveal or whatever your mind wants to imply with it. I am sure you have a clever answer to that too. I don't feel that a dialog with you would be beneficial for me nor for anyone else. So please share your 'wisdom' with somebody who wants to listen what you have to say.

I do not (anymore). Thank you.

Mouna said...

Wow, guys and gals, be careful going alone in dark streets! there is an army of faceless anonymous dividuals attacking poor ajnanis like yours truly!
Ok, let’s face them one by one, here we go, or better here I go (wish me luck and wisdom):

First anonymous said: "Now if you can also stop believing in Jnana and other ideas of your mind you are well ahead for realization.”
I cannot not believe in jnana my friend because that is what I Am, would be like to not believe there is existence right now right here!
Besides I don’t cherish any illusion of getting enlightened or realized, no one does or will anyways.
(By the way, I thought you didn’t want to discuss with me anymore…)

Second anonymous (or is she/he the same?!) said: "To play Devil's advocate, if you don't believe in Jnanis, why are you paying attention at all to Bhagavan's teaching?”
Because from the spiritual marketplace, they are the ones so far that make more sense (to me of course).

"From where is the idea or concept of Jnana communicated from?”
From Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi obviously, at least that is the name that appears in all his books.

"That must be from some Jnani in the past you are not believing in.
Exactly and that jnani I don’t believe in is called Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, according to history.

"You are not making sense my friend.”
Oh my! I love nonsense! specially that part that talks about ajata, have you heard about ajata? com-ple-tely nonsense, and that is why I love it.

"Mouna, who really here is wanting to have the cake and is eating it too? ”
The ones that say that you can have moksha while experiencing the world at the same time,I think it is called something like videhamukti in some eatern language? is that right?...

"Funny how quickly the mind becomes clever and goes on thin ice (and I am not excluding myself from that).”
AAAAhhh gotcha! you are enjoying this too then!
Skating in thin ice is fun and exciting, I din’t know I have a companion that enjoys it also!
By the way, when in the mood, I love clever also, like nonsense.

(Please don’t be disappointed, my hammering continues in the next post)

Mouna said...

(There you go, second part, still there?? wow, you might like what I have to say!)

Third (!!!) anonymous appeared in full frontal strength and said said: Hello, you said a few comments back "There are no Jnanis, only Jnana. It's your experience as well, but you imagine it to be otherwise. Imagination is a concept, and that's what misleads.”
Did I say that? or just a part of that? mmmm.. Sounds good anyways, all of it!

"Well, it feels like you want to sound clever here but that whole comment is frankly nonsense.”
Please read a few lines before about my love for the non-sensical and you will understand (maybe) where am I coming from.

"I do not know what drove you to that comment, what cleverness your mind wants to reveal or whatever your mind wants to imply with it. I am sure you have a clever answer to that too.
YES I do!! Add it to the lot, I love Nonsense and Clever! what else do you see my friend, your insights are like liquid gold to me?

"I don't feel that a dialog with you would be beneficial for me nor for anyone else.”
For you I don’t know, I am not you… Sorry, on second thoughts I am you also (according to all this non-duality nonsense)… but for the you you separate from me it might not be useful, agree, you should know better than I do what makes you, you.
As for others I am not sure you can know that, sometimes I receive feedback from seekers saying that just reading my posts they woke up to their unlimited potential, sometimes they say they hate me and love me at the same time, or that I proved to be the smartest and clever person in the whole world, adding that my ego (freudian one) is as big as my cleverness, meaning big.

"So please share your 'wisdom' with somebody who wants to listen what you have to say.
I do not (anymore). Thank you.”

Since I do not know who wants or who doesn’t, I shall continue.
And guys/gals, Anonymous the 3rd just confirmed I’m wise!!!
Michael is a very compassionate man, and also the big boss of the blog, so if he wants to shut down my posts, I shall understand him of course.

Until then Dear Anonymous Fellowship... you might have a small thorn in your foot!
Ready to sting when something makes a lot of sense in your postings!

Ok bye. and remember, there is no place like om..

R Viswanathan said...

"On the other hand, there is a mutual superimposition between the Self (Atman) and not-Self (anatman), i.e. features of Atman are superimposed upon the Atman.”
????? Not even bending my mind 180 degrees I can understand this phrase...

Dear Mouna, I did not reproduce it properly and I don't know how to edit my previous comment to correct this. I correct it now as given below:

"On the other hand, there is a mutual superimposition between the Self (Atman) and not-Self (anatman), i.e. features of Atman are superimposed upon the inner organ and features of the inner organ are superimposed on the Atman".

Regarding the rest of the passages which gave you confusion, I can only state that somehow they did not give me any confusion, probably because I read the whole book, and many portions, many times, too.

You may find that Sri Michael James also found my statements attributed to Dr John Grimes confusing first (this article based on this), but later, upon getting the photos of the pages, could understand the reason why Dr John Grimes wrote so.



Mouna said...

Dear Viswanathan, greetings
Thank you for this clarification. I was sure when I read the passage that it was a semantic mispelling or something like that
Still the passage is confusing to me but I know on the other hand that it is hard to understand something that is taken out of context or not following a thread of thought, surely this is the case.
Anyways thank you again for taking the time to clarify the mispelling.

Be well
M

* said...

Does silence go anywhere when it's filled with sound?


* I changed my name; it might have been a little hard to see.

* said...

Is awareness not seeing these words?

ulla porul said...

*,
do not make us angry with the endless lenght of your name.

Regarding your question I would answer with five variants:
A.) How can one fill silence with sound ?
B.) Can we have simultaneously a mixture of silence and sound at all ?
C.) If sound rings out there - then silence has gone.
D.) Silence is always there - even when sound or noise spreads about it.
E.) To whom appear silence and sound ?

* said...

ulla porul - My question didn't require an answer.

* said...

ulla porul - You talk of silence as if it's something other than you.

ulla porul said...

*,
answer nr.D.) includes quite well that actually i.e. not seemingly there is nothing but silence.
Be well.

* said...

Thank you, ulla porul. I'm happy to know you are still here in the midst of all this noise.

ulla porul said...

*,
I am also happy (to know) that nobody is ever absent.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan is a challenge to all of us, because he is asking us to question all our fundamental beliefs. For example, we all say ‘I am this body’. We may say that we understand we are not this body, but we have a deep-rooted conviction that ‘I am this body’. Bhagavan asks us to question that conviction.

We also have a deep-rooted conviction that this world is real. In fact, so long as we experience a body as ourself, we cannot but experience a world as if it were real. We believe that the world exists independent of our perception of it, but according to Bhagavan, nothing exists independent of our perception of it. Is it even theoretically possible to prove that the world exists independent of our perception of it? Obviously it is not, because it only when we perceive things that they seem to exist. When we don’t perceive it, how to say that it exists?

Our belief that the world exists while we are asleep is a blind belief. So Bhagavan is challenging all our cherished beliefs and making us see that actually they are groundless beliefs.

So we have to unlearn all that we have learnt. There is only one true thing that we know and that is ‘I am’. Whatever else we know is untrue ultimately.

~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 10th March 2018

My note: Can we prove to ourselves that this world is not a dream? We cannot. In a dream, we experience ourself as a body and take the world around that body to be real. However, when we ‘wake-up’ we come to know that whatever we experienced in our dream was just our mental fabrication. Do we think that our dream world exists even when we are not experiencing it? We do not because we know that our mind had projected that dream world and it lasted only so long as we were experiencing it.

How different is this world from our dream world? In this so-called ‘waking state’ also, we experience a body as if it were ourself. We now seem to be awake, and this world around us seems to be real. So our present experience is in no way different from our experience in a dream. In fact, Bhagavan unequivocally says that this world is nothing but our dream. So it exists only when we perceive it: drsti-srsti-vada.

*** said...

Oh Mouna, you are so clever, aren't you? Look at your "response" to these various anonymous'. Yeah, yeah, nice to see how your ego wants to show off that it "knows". Keeps it busy. LOL

And, no, Michael would not kick you off this forum, why losing one of his flatterers?
I am still waiting to see that Michael asks you guys to stop showering him with praise. That is not good for his ego and he should have that much discrimination to avoid getting exposed to that. Unless his ego thinks it's immune to it (yeah right).

Or is he the Jnani on this blog you were referring to Mouna? LOL
Oh I forgot, you stated you don't believe in Jnanis, just in Jnana. No in fact you announced you ARE Jnana. How is that working for you? So much Jnana in your ego's responses :-)

Anonymous 1 was right, much schizophrenia is going on this blog. Non-Duality has that affect on many people. Mind never fails to dupe itself. You Mouna are a good example for that ....

Silent Observer said...

***, looking at the talkative nature of "Mouna" don't you find it ironic too what handle he has chosen ? Well at least something he can aspire too. so far he seems to be quite the opposite.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael: Destiny means what we are to experience in this life. It is already predestined.

Devotee: Should we accept it blind-folded?

M: This, the karma theory as taught to us by Bhagavan, is not one of the essential aspects of his teachings. This is supplementary. This is something that nobody can prove, but understanding and accepting this theory has a very great advantage. So long as we are concerned about our external life, our minds will be going outwards. Our aim is to turn the mind within. So Bhagavan has assured us that you don’t have to concern yourself with your external life, because it is going on according to destiny.

We don’t have to believe this and we can’t prove this, but if we accept this theory that makes our life much easier. Because we are trying to turn within, the less we are concerned with the external thing, the easier it will be for us to turn within. So there is a practical benefit in accepting what has taught us in this respect.

D: Then should we just stay in bed and not get up, because everything is anyway predestined?

M: No, because the same destiny will make you get up. If you are destined to work, you can’t stay in bed in the morning. OK, how long will you stay in bed? You would get hungry after a day or two, wouldn’t you? You will get up and go looking for food.

Even if we believe we have control, how much control do we really have on our lives? It is very little, for example, we didn’t decide which family we were born? Our family circumstances mould our life. Now you may have a job, but your company may suddenly go bust and you may lose your job. You may be very well qualified but still, you may not be able to get a new job. Things are not under our control, even though we may pretend that it is.

~*~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 10th March 2018




Mouna said...

Hey ***
Why are you so angry my friend?
Not worth it...
It’s all a joke, a cosmic joke which some of us are taken very seriously, even when we clearly joke about it.

By the way, one thing I like about this blog and about Michael in particular is that it allows these kind of interactions, a full spectrum, from the funny nonsense some like me writes from time to time, to the compassionate and full of love commentaries when some of us are in trouble or passing through a hard time, from the deep insights many here provide with their results of their sadhana to the unbiased devotion for our inner and outer beloved Bhagavan guruji... the whole spectrum.

From time to time there are these “critiques” that shake the ground and try to destabilize the sangha, attacks on Michael, or heavy words charged with anger and resentment... it’s all good, it is happening as it should, it wasn’t different in Bhagavan’s time, it did happen even before his eyes!

Anyhow, in the end, it’s all what is, the way it should be.

Be well
M

PS: in case you feel this is a redeeming post from the last long post I wrote to show off my cleverness, is not. I’m still proud and stand for my big fat Freudian ego! :-)

Mahishasura Mardini said...

From where did this *** asura escape ?

*** said...

So Mouna, calling me angry, is that giving your ego a sense of superiority? You cannot know if I am angry inwardly at all, so it's just one of your ego's many coping mechanisms. Calling others angry, and calling your own angry comments "joking". Well done!

Do you actually notice how your mind is duping itself? I guess not.

I was called an asura by Mahi Mardini, that's hilarious. You can call me the devil or whatever you like to project onto me my friend. Feel free to do do.

*** said...

Silent Observer, yes I noticed that too. Not many here will acknowledge that since this "Brotherhood" of Michael devotees sticks together and drops discrimination in favor for siding with their fellow member of the Brotherhood.

*** said...

Oh, and that was a joke. That should make it okay :-)

Mouna said...

Friends! The battle is till on in the blog-kshetra!
Now the faceless armies are gathering together and are attacking little and poor Mouna for the choice of his... handle?
I know, Mouna means silence I know... would that mean that I have to shut up and channel my delusion all internally?!
Never! Where would my big fat (Freudian) ego go?

At least I know that the sages said that Silence with a big S is not absence of sound...

Yes Silent Observer (that is kind of a contradiction isn’t it?) I’ll never learn the lesson, maybe I should change my... handle (!) to Noise!!! There you go! Since I can’t change my nature I’ll change my name and keep bugging you guys!!!

Thanks for the idea!

By the way ***, did you know that the devil is also an angel of god?... aren’t we all devils in a sort of way at one time or the other?

All is well.

Mouna: (now speaking to the audience) thank you for the attendance I hope you enjoyed it. We are taking a leave of absence until the next season. Thank you for coming! Namaste

*** said...

Still duping yourself Mouna? I guess you can't help that.

Yeah, all is well, keep saying that. Maybe eventually you'll actually believe that :-)

*** said...

Silent Observer, "sage" Mouna can't help it but making a smart ass comment about your handle. That's getting better and better! His ego REALLY has to show off its spiritual knowledge. LMAO

Gosh, I am having way too much fun poking these poor egos here. I must be an asura escaped from the gates of hell.

Mahishasura Mardini said...

haha, may Durga soon celebrate the beheading of that hilarious ***asura before it hides from us in any narrow gap ! I already draw my shattering sword.

mey aha-cudar said...

"...when the ego or mind is turned inwards it remains as ātma-svarūpa, the real nature of oneself."
Presumably this means that the mind's attention should be turned inwards.
Remaining as atma-svarupa is said to be our aim. How to make the adjuncts vanishing ?

Anonymous said...

Where is Salazar...

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael wrote in one his comments addressed to me, 'the most important principle of Bhagavan's teaching is that the ego will cease to exist if and only if we investigate it. [...] Only when we investigate the ego will it forever cease to exist, as Bhagavan explained, for example, in verse 25 of Ulladu Narpadu when he wrote ‘If sought [examined or investigated], it will take flight’, and in verse 17 of Upadea Undiyar:

When one investigates [examines or scrutinises] the form of the mind without neglecting [forgetting, abandoning, giving up or ceasing], anything called ‘mind’ will not exist. This is the direct [straight or appropriate] path for everyone whomsoever'.

Michael concluded his comment by writing: 'This is the most important and fundamental of all the principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, because all other principles are just the supporting frame or temple in which this most valuable principle is enshrined'.

One may visit a temple but for some reason not go in front of its garba graha (sanctum sanctorum), the innermost sanctum of a Hindu temple where resides the murti (idol) of the primary deity of the temple. One may just visit the temple’s other areas where other secondary deities are installed; go around the temple from outside; go around the gardens in the compound of the temple and so on, but leave the temple without visiting its main deity.

We cannot say we have visited the temple in its true sense if we fail to visit the sanctum sanctorum. Likewise, we cannot say that we have correctly understood Bhagavan’s teachings until and until we have fully understood this most important and fundamental of Bhagavan’s teachings.

Ramana bhaktas do a lot of things in the name Ramana bhakti. We worship him, sing his praise, chant his works, give lectures on his teachings, listen to talks, perform dance and drama on Bhagavan’s life, and so forth. However, I do not think that most of us have clearly understood and assimilated this most important principle of Bhagavan’s teachings, namely ‘that the ego will cease to exist if and only if we investigate it’. Since we have not properly assimilated this principle, our practice lacks conviction and clear direction.

Garima said...

Anonymous said

"Where is Salazar ..."

Hiding behind aliases after deleting his posts,
Where's Roger?.

ekatma vastu said...

Reporting Salazar or Roger as missing is quite irrational. One could hardly have a sensible conversation with one of them.

ekatma vastu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
once again thank you for your transcripts of extracts of Michael's video-discussions.

"When one investigates [examines or scrutinises] the form of the mind without neglecting [forgetting, abandoning, giving up or ceasing], anything called ‘mind’ will not exist. This is the direct [straight or appropriate] path for everyone whomsoever'."
I would like to experience that and to take this auspicious advice. But ...
The crux of the matter is that the power of this investigation has to be so resounding enormous in order to be sufficiently deep for revealing the discovery that we are not the finite mind/ego but absolutely pure self-awareness. My previous attempts of carrying out the required deep investigation were fruitless and broken off without a conclusion having been reached that goal. To experience myself as I really am requires evidently a great feat or masterly performance of the mind. Because my investigation was not perfect the ego did not at all cease to exist. Nevertheless we have no decent alternative but to improve our practice of self-investigation.
By the way regarding innermost sanctum of an Hindu temple we should read garbha griha (instead of garba graha).

Sanjay Lohia said...

According to Bhagavan, all these phenomena like the Big-Bang are just our own mental projections. They are just thoughts or ideas in our mind. In Nan Yar? Bhagavan emphasises this very much – ‘without thoughts there is no such thing as the world’; ‘the word is just thoughts’. By ‘thoughts’ he means mental phenomena.

Just like a dream, everything we currently see or perceive is just mental phenomena. The perceptions are in the mind, by the mind, of the mind, to the mind. According to Bhagavan, the only thing that actually exists is ourself, but when we seem to rise as this ego so many other things seem to exist. So nothing exists without being perceived by us.

What is Big-Bang? Scientists have done some research and have come up with some theory – so many billions of years ago there was a big-bang, and that is how this universe as we now know it started. This is just an idea. Or we may have some other theory. We may believe what is said in the Bible, for example, that God created the world in 7 days. This God and the 7 days creation, when did it come into existence? They came into existence when we first heard about them, not before.

All scientific theories and most of the philosophical and religious are what is called srsti-drsti-vada. Srsti means creation, drsti means seeing or perception and vada means the contention. So srsti-drsti-vada is the contention that creation comes first, followed by perception.

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

However, what Bhagavan taught us is drsti-srsti-vada - the contention that perception is the cause of the creation. It doesn’t actually precede but happen simultaneously. Like in a dream, the creation of the dream images and our perception of them happen simultaneously. That’s why it is also called yugapat-srsti, which means ‘simultaneous creation’. ‘Perceive’ here can mean in any way, whether we think it, see it, hear it and so forth.

Apart from what we perceive at this very moment nothing exists, and even what we perceive at this moment doesn’t actually exist but just seems to exist. Not only that, even the one to whom it seems to exist, namely the ego, itself just seems to exist, and it seems to exist only in its own view. Therefore, Bhagavan says, it’s all maya.

However, over and above these two types of theories, namely srsti-drsti-vada and dsrti-srsti-vada, the ultimate truth is ajata, which is no creation whatsoever. Because all that exists only in the view of the perceiver, the ego, if we investigate the truth of the ego, we will find that there never was any such thing. If there never was any ego, there never was any creation. So nothing has ever been created – nothing has ever happened.

~*~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 3rd March 2018

Salazar said...

Garima, I deleted only a few comments on one thread since I found them unnecessary. There is no need to defend Papaji nor to point out certain biases and hypocrisies on this forum. The majority of my past comments, I'd say about 98% of them, are still available to read. And I also deleted these comments to shut up this moron on this particular thread who seemed to feel that he had to challenge me. So I simply withdrew.

Funny that suddenly another "anonymous" appears and asks for me at this particular time. It seems that you Garima have responded the way "anonymous" hoped someone would do. This "anonymous'" mind is duping itself again playing this game of deception he seems to imply others are doing. The power of imagination.

I don't have to hide behind aliases and I believe nor would Roger Isaacs do that. In fact, "Garima", "Mouna", etc, are aliases too and after having read Mouna's tirade about using the handle "anonymous" I can only chuckle about his so-called reasoning. None of the handles here reveal the actual person besides Michael, so everybody is hiding behind their aliases. I am not sure about Sanjay Lohia, maybe that is really his actual name.

I have to admit, I enjoyed the recent comments, of course they won't find the approval of the majority of the "devotees" here.

I still enjoy Michael's articles and that brings me back and I guess I can't help it to peak at the comments. Same 'ol, same 'ol, but then sometimes a refreshing wind blasts though these cob webs on this blog, getting everybody all excited :-)

Oh, and I won't be commenting much, you guys only want a certain way of dialog and that is not really worth my time. Funny how rigidly most here are clinging on their personal variation of the truth and also believing that would be actually Bhagavan's teaching :-)

Salazar said...

I just went back to the thread where I deleted my comments and I noticed that you, Garima, was the moron who challenged me. LOL

So it seems you are still holding a grudge and are feeding the paranoia of "anonymous". You are a moron indeed!!!

Mouna said...

Salazar, greetings

" are aliases too and after having read Mouna's tirade about using the handle "anonymous" I can only chuckle about his so-called reasoning.”

Just a quick note about my “reasoning". I never tried to hide my so called identity.
If you go to the Blogger info you have my email to write me a personal email.
Once in the blog I tried to start using my real name that is Carlos Grasso but people continued to call me Mouna.
I even put my address, website, Facebook and phone number if someone wanted to contact/troll me off-blog.

This is one of the shortcomings of Google blogs. In Yahoo Groups you can’t hide the email you signed to the group with, that allows conversations off-blog that save members a lot of time clicking the “delete” button when you know the contents of the comment is really not worth reading.

I still stand for my reasoning, which is, in this kind of blog (focus on Bhagavan’s teachings), I found very strange that some of us fear the disclosure of one’s personality, gender, profession, family, etc… Believe me, I don’t judge it, it’s that I really can’t understand it, except thinking that is some irrational fear embedded in the freudian ego that all of us ajnanis carry through life. If we were a group discussing terrorism it would make sense, because our fear would be founded on the possibility of being sacked either by the police or the terrorists, but here, the assumed “person” we think we are is part of the imaginary problem we are trying to solve.

Any other problem you see fit to discuss off-blog, let me know at either “maunna@gmail.com” or “studio@carlosgrasso.com”

Be well,

… Mouna

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ekatma-Vastu, yes, my transliteration of garbha grha was not correct. I thank you for pointing out this mistake. The following is more about garbha grha. It is taken from Wikipedia:

Garbhagriha or Garbha gruha (garbha gṛha) (Sanskrit: गर्भगृह) is the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost sanctum of a Hindu temple where resides the murti (idol or icon) of the primary deity of the temple. Literally the word means "womb chamber", from the Sanskrit words garbha for womb and griha for house. Generally in Hinduism only 'priests' (pujari) are allowed to enter this chamber. Although the term is often associated with Hindu temples, it is also found in Jain and Buddhist temples.

ekatma vastu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"...if we investigate the truth of the ego, we will find that there never was any such thing. If there never was any ego, there never was any creation. So nothing has ever been created – nothing has ever happened."
That is the teaching. But our (mind-born) experience does not coincide with it.
But..., the only way to insert that outrageous and quite shocking teaching in one's own experience is the annihilation of the ego. Here we go.

Salazar said...

Hello Mouna, I didn't want to imply that you were hiding behind your moniker and you made that abundantly clear in your last comment. Everybody is different and I do not judge if somebody uses a real name or not. I prefer to not use my real name because that gives a possible exposure I do not want. I cannot imagine to start a Facebook blog and post pictures of myself, loved ones etc. for the whole world to gawk at.
And with most that would be okay, but there are plenty of shady and strange characters out there and the problem is once something is posted on the net you cannot take it back. It will be there 'forever'. Even deleting a blog or file would be too late since images or everything else could have been already saved by someone. Now everybody has a different threshold, I tend to be rather more private than to expose my life to the whole world. In fact, I enjoy my anonymity on the net, it also gives me the choice who I let closer into my life and who not.
I only shared my real name with very few people I met on the net and I don't think that this will change.

Nowadays of course in terms with governments there is not much privacy anymore with the NSA recording any email or phone call which contain certain phrases like 'bomb', "anthrax', and what not. However since I have nothing to hide I do not mind if some anonymous government spook is listening into my private conversations.

You be well too.

* said...

"...in this kind of blog (focus on Bhagavan’s teachings), I found very strange that some of us fear the disclosure of one’s personality..."

Mouna - you may be familiar with the court case against the ashram, which led to the creation of Ramana's will. He signed the will, not Venkataraman Iyer or Ramana Maharshi, but with a line. He did so not out of fear, I'm quite certain. : )

Mouna said...

Salazar, fair enough and very well articulated position, that I respect fully.

Now… “.” (dot), I think Bhagavan signing with a line is a different story of what is most happening here in this blog, although I have to say if that is honestly your immermost attitude when writing a commentary, then I also respect fully your attitude.

Thanks friends,
M

gargoyle said...

Salazar

I love it.....someone else who avoids social media like the plague..i.e. Facebook, Twitter and all the rest.

I was pleased to see you commenting again...not that I agree with you at all times.

Bhagavan has brought us together even though we may have our differences.

My humble apologies for the off topic comment.


Cheers and Best Regards

Salazar said...

Mouna, regarding your last comment, I believe what counts is what happens inwardly and not what is demonstrated outwardly, no matter if it's a line, dot, or triple dots. With Bhagavan we know that it was also his inward experience, for the rest it is more an empty gesture and weak affirmation. I remember that guy "Ravi" who kept showing up on this blog for awhile and he usually ended his comments with "Namaskar".

Now there is nothing wrong with doing that, however at some point I asked him if he knew what that really meant and he gave me the standard explanation but not getting my point. We were of course arguing and the egos got excited and he still kept ending his arguments with "namaskar'. In that case it was an empty and hollow display which contradicted his attitude, if he truly would have adhered to the meaning of that phrase he'd not have argued with "himself" but remained silent.

So in a way his ego was abusing that phrase to "appear spiritual" outwardly but in fact it was not the case with him at all inwardly. It's like all these people who go to a church, mosque, or temple and just repeat mindlessly the phrases they have learned without any true heart felt connection to it. Now as devotees of Bhagavan, this goes even further to rather realize the Self than to outwardly demonstrate all kind of shenanigans ....

Mouna said...

Salazar, I agree strongly of course.
That is why I said that if "." really and honestly is coming from that inner perspective (of signing as Bhagavan) I respect fully his dot-anonimity. But if not, is just another... shenanigan trick of the freudian ego that usually passed undiscovered to the unexamined mind to keep feeding itself.
The same reasoning goes to everyone else. you were honest enough to explain your position and that makes the whole situation transparent, I am not really sure is the case for many other either anonymous or fake identity users.
Again, there is nothing wrong with this position even if not genuine, and in the end is a kind of Mouna's phobia, but I felt I wanted to speak about (maybe for the third time in this blog).

* said...

"...I think Bhagavan signing with a line is a different story of what is most happening here in this blog..."

Mouna - I think you're right. Simplicity often seems to buried in complexity here. Since this is a blog about Bhagavan's teachings, maybe the simple question "Who am I?' should be given more focus than "one's personality, gender, profession, etc...". After all, Bhagavan tells us that our duty is to be, not to be this or that.

Salazar said...

gargoyle, that is an unexpected comment by you and it is well received. I don't expect agreement and I know that I often come over abrasive and when going into Bhagavan's teachings I may sound often too dismissive of other positions. Trust me, Bhagavan is working on my ego and is giving it quite a few blows even when that does not appear that way in my comments.

And yes, Bhagavan's ways are mysterious and with Bhagavan we all truly have something great in common.

Best regards to you too.

Mouna said...

"maybe the simple question "Who am I?' should be given more focus than "one's personality, gender, profession, etc...". After all, Bhagavan tells us that our duty is to be, not to be this or that.”

. ,

I do agree, but with a caveat. The “Who Am I?” question is personal, internal, that can be dealt with only in the innermost chambers of the person we take ourselves to be. But let us remember that we actually investigate and question the person (body, gender, profession, etc) that we are supposed to be, and on that route we arrive to the imaginary ego itself, we don’t investigate the self (which can’t be investigated anyways).
It doesn’t hurt (although agreed, not necessary) but sometimes might help to know the tricks imaginary ego plays to delude us, like signs of identity, I’m a woman-I’m a father-I’m a spiritual person-I’m awake!

* said...

Mouna - the answer is even more simple than the question.

Mouna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mouna said...

(I deleted my comment because it wasn't . (dot) who responded but rather *, here we go again)

*, for self, yes; for ego, no.

Mouna said...

or is it that . (dot) awakened and became * (star)???

Salazar said...

Mouna, I totally concur with your last few comments.

* said...

Mouna - I changed my name because you confused a previous comment by Anonymous, which was addressed to me, as being addressed to you.

"for self, yes; for ego, no."

For self, no question, as you alluded to. But deeply ingrained conditioning makes it difficult for the ego accept simplicity without a fight. The answer, however, remains simple.

Salazar said...


"The answer, however, remains simple."

*, and the answer is? Why are you keep talking around the bush? I, and probable others here too, would prefer that you elaborate a little more and not keep shooting those "mini" cryptic comments.

* said...

Salazar - you want me to elaborate on 'simple'? : )

Tell me how I should elaborate on silence.

Salazar said...

*, alright, and your point is? Do you think that is something new here? It's like saying, the sun is hot. Silence sounds great, what about your desires? Are they silent too?

* said...

Salazar - I'm pointing to the answer, not to more questions.

Salazar said...

*, who is pointing?

Anyway, good luck with whatever you try to convey. Is being cryptic and enigmatic what your ego is thriving on? It seems that way. But not my business, I certainly prefer honesty and integrity.

Diogenes said...

How does one investigate the ego closely enough ?
Every time when I lost the thread in my practice of looking within I felt that I do not get further and I am not able to go on. My real state seemed to be hidden behind a thick wall of dull negligence. Making a good start looks differently.

Salazar said...

Diogenes, when I started doing Self-Inquiry it took me a long time even to notice every time that I was back in the dream world of my mind. At that time it seemed I was covered with dullness, and yet, by the grace of Bhagavan, I kept going as little I was doing and over the months and years things became better. I started remembering more and more, something I did not expect in the beginning or was doubting it. It really comes always back to the nonsense what the mind is telling us. If we truly could stop believing our thoughts we'd be done.

Did you read Sadhu Om's writings about Self-Inquiry and surrender? They helped me a lot. Although not much when I read it for the first time, most of it was over my head and I thought, what rubbish is that? Much later what I at first saw as coal became gold and I marvel about Sadhu Om's insides. I still like to re-read it once in awhile.

We just have to keep going, ignoring thoughts about progress and difficulties etc. Who has those thoughts?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Whenever we are engaged with the world, we judge certain people or things or events as ‘right’, and other people or things or events as wrong. However, as Bhagavan has explained, this entire world-picture is just our thoughts or mental phenomena. So whatever we consider being right or wrong is also merely our ideas. Bhagavan once said:

Bhagavan: What is right or wrong? There is no standard to judge something to be right and another to be wrong. Opinions differ according to the nature of the individuals and according to the surroundings. They are again ideas and nothing more. Do not worry about them but get rid of your thoughts instead. If you remain always in the right, then right will prevail in the world.

Bhagavan says, ‘If you remain always in the right, then right will prevail in the world’. How can we always remain in the right? As long as we rise as this ego, we will sometimes remain in the right and sometimes in the wrong. We cannot avoid this, though we can try and minimise our wrongs and try to remain in the right as far as possible.

However, there is one only thing which is absolutely right, and that is our atma-avarupa. Everything else other than atma-svarupa is wrong, because all these things should not have been there in the first place. Our body and the world as we experience it exists only because of our wrong actions in the past. Of course, by rising as this ego we have committed our first blunder, and all our other blunders follow as a result of this first mistake.

Whatever right or wrong we see outside is because we have risen as this ego to see such right and wrong. We can stop seeing this right and wrong only if we cease rising as this ego, and we can cease rising as this ego only by turning within and experiencing ourself as we actually are. As Bhagavan implies, right and wrong are just thoughts or ideas, and therefore we can give up all such ideas by ceasing to think, which we can cease to think only by not rising as this ego.



Garima said...

Dear Salazar,

Thanks for the insult.

It is good you realised the stupidity of your previous comments and deleted them, thank you for admitting you were wrong. But if this is the case and you have admitted to your immatureness why are you now advising Diogenes?

By the way I see you are back arguing again this time with *

You recently said:

"But not my business, I certainly prefer honesty and integrity."

Have you read your previous posts where you insult people including Michael James and own up to liking to stir things up and create arguments on purpose for your own amusement?

You also said:

"Oh, and I won't be commenting much, you guys only want a certain way of dialog and that is not really worth my time. Funny how rigidly most here are clinging on their personal variation of the truth and also believing that would be actually Bhagavan's teaching :-)"

Since then you have posted nine times on the same day you posted that? You are posting more Salazar not less you fool.

Your mind is in a feeding frenzy and all I have been doing the whole time is chucking chum in water you blithering idiot, can't you see that? I have been playing you like a fiddle, stirring you up and arguing with you on purpose just for my own amusement. Your too easy (lol!), it's not fun anymore. I am just like you aren't I, I am a reflection. But you don't seem to like your reflection do you. There's a lesson for you doughnut.

You seem to care so much about your comments and how you come across. Don't worry I am sure many visitors constantly take notes and revel reading your pearls of wisdom.

No need to reply Salazar just take 10 deep breaths instead and try to calm down I know you want to try and post less (ha ha ha !!!!!!!!) :) :) :) :)

Anonymous said...

On duping and being duped....
=========================================
*** said...Anonymous 1 was right, much schizophrenia is going on this blog. Non-Duality has that affect on many people. Mind never fails to dupe itself. You Mouna are a good example for that ....

19 March 2018 at 14:55

*** said ….So Mouna, calling me angry, is that giving your ego a sense of superiority? You cannot know if I am angry inwardly at all, so it's just one of your ego's many coping mechanisms. Calling others angry, and calling your own angry comments "joking". Well done!

Do you actually notice how your mind is duping itself? I guess not.

19 March 2018 at 15:48

*** said...

Still duping yourself Mouna? I guess you can't help that.

Yeah, all is well, keep saying that. Maybe eventually you'll actually believe that :-)

19 March 2018 at 16:05

Salazar said...

Garima, I deleted only a few comments on one thread since I found them unnecessary. There is no need to defend Papaji nor to point out certain biases and hypocrisies on this forum. The majority of my past comments, I'd say about 98% of them, are still available to read. And I also deleted these comments to shut up this moron on this particular thread who seemed to feel that he had to challenge me. So I simply withdrew.

Funny that suddenly another "anonymous" appears and asks for me at this particular time. It seems that you Garima have responded the way "anonymous" hoped someone would do. This "anonymous'" mind is duping itself again playing this game of deception he seems to imply others are doing. The power of imagination.

20 March 2018 at 14:03
========================

Would like to thank Michael for this blog, anonymously...

Salazar said...

Garima, I started reading your comment (rolled my eyes) and then I stopped, skipped a bit and came to the part where you announced that you were "playing me like a fiddle".

So you were, how clever of you and that must prove your maturity compared to my, what did you say, stupidity. Nicely done, you can be proud of yourself.

Oh, and I was not "advising" Diogenes, that is all in your head, I was sincerely sharing my own starting "problems" and maybe it was helpful for him or not.

That you believe that I was advising Diogenes comes from your own deluded notion that you are advising me: Garima is teaching this guy a lesson in holding a mirror in front of him. Again nicely done, but do not forget with all of this advising to look into the mirror yourself once in a while.

The biggest fool is the one who believes he has to "teach" so-called "others" a lesson while he actually should look back at himself. What you ever want to teach me you need it the most!

Garima, please take your own advice, take a deep breath and step away from the computer screen, it is bad for your mental health.


**************

It appears that "anonymous" tries to insinuate something again, what that is beats me. I leave that to his mind.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Devotee: Are we to keep anything against a rainy day; or to live a precarious [uncertain] life for spiritual attainment?

Bhagavan: God looks after everything.

My note: The source of this quotation is not known but I had noted it down a long time back, perhaps from Talks or some similar recordings.

We have concern for our future because we do not completely trust Bhagavan or have complete faith in his grace. We may have financial concerns, concern about who will take care of us in our old age, concern about the marriage of our children and so on. However, if we are wise, we will leave all our concerns to the care of Bhagavan.

If he is taking care of our today, will he abandon us tomorrow? If he is gracious to us today, will he suddenly become ungracious to us tomorrow and leave us in a lurch? It will be foolish to think so. Grace is another name for Bhagavan, and Bhagavan is what we actually are. Therefore, we can never be away from grace, nor can grace ever leave us and go somewhere. Bhagavan is the very embodiment of love, so how can he stop loving us someday? It is impossible.

Therefore, we should not think about saving for a rainy day, because if we try to do so we are showing our lack of trust in Bhagavan. Bhagavan is the train that is carrying us and also carrying our entire luggage – that is all our worldly responsibilities. This train will not stop until we reach our destination, and we will reach our destination only when we experience ourself as we actually are. It will be wise if we place our luggage on the luggage rack of this train, instead of foolishly carrying it on our heads, and travel comfortably to our destination.

* said...

Diogenes - you asked, 'How does one investigate the ego closely enough?'

Investigation is an activity, and you are not an investigator. Your real state is stillness (silence). That is what you are. The practice of atma-vicara is nothing more (and nothing less) than turning attention from thought to silence. If the thought, 'I lost the thread in my practice' arises, return attention to silence. If the thought, 'I am not able to go on' arises, return attention to silence. If the thought, 'my real state seems to be hidden' arises, return attention to silence. It's not complicated. And the more you persevere, the easier it becomes.

"All that is required to realize the Self is to be still." - Ramana

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, very nice comment, I suppose it is from one of Michael's talks. In fact, your comments are a nice and steady fresh air focusing on Bhagavan's teachings alone.

My thanks.

Mouna said...

Sanjay, greetings

I agree with Salazar, nice comment about trust in Bhagavan…
It is very interesting because it came just at a moment when I am going through tough times on many fronts and although thoughts keep popping and pounding negative (and imaginary) future scenarios, the play keeps ratifying this basic verification that you expounded in your comment.
Bhagavan seems to take us that extra mile that our efforts alone cannot completely accomplish, and then we realize also that those very efforts we attributed to ourselves are also His Grace.
It is all Grace...

Salazar said...

Greetings Mouna, it seems Sanjay's comment had the same affect to you as it did to me. I too am experiencing some huge difficulties and I am at that point where my mind wants to "give up" on mere exhaustion to keep things under control. Which is of course an illusion. Bhagavan is currently swiping away every anchor of "security" my mind was clinging at and my ego is scringing.

And yet, as you so pointedly said, it is all Grace.

It seems we're having a bad time, or is it just Bhagavan doing us a favor?

Mouna said...

Greetings to you back Salazar,
"It seems we're having a bad time, or is it just Bhagavan doing us a favor? “

Since we both agree it’s all Grace, then it looks that by simple logic those hard times are Grace also, ergo a kind of favor.. depending on our attitude towards.

Hope you ailments of whatever sort they are will reach the point of reversal soon my friend.

Diogenes said...

Salazar,
many thanks for your comment. However, in my present state no teaching whatever can help me.
As you said "We just have to keep going, ignoring thoughts about progress and difficulties etc. Who has those thoughts?".

being without the ego said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you say "..., right and wrong are just thoughts or ideas, and therefore we can give up all such ideas by ceasing to think, which we can cease to think only by not rising as this ego."
Have you ever seen anybody who did not rise as this ego - in waking and dreaming ?
Perhaps the idea of not rising as this ego is only a wishful notion of the deceptive mind.

Diogenes said...

*,
thanks for your well-meant advice. As you say "All that is required to realize the Self is to be still." However, at present I cannot at all be still. Although stillness is in me, the ego does not bow its head.

jnana and bhakti said...

Whether we call/consider hard times as (Bhagavan's) grace or not, how can one prevent oneself from rising as this ego ?

tanmaya-nishtha said...

Today I went on a little hike on a low mountain which was snow-covered only with 10 cm.
First there was some cold snowstorm in the wood. Then round about midday the clouds vanished. The atmosphere in the nature (woods, meadows, some rock faces along the path) was bathed in bright sunlight and the mind subsided temporarily in heavenly peace. Five hours in a tight embrace by natural surroundings - it was wonderful, magnificent, paradisical.
May all beings be aware of great inner peace...

* said...

"...at present I cannot at all be still." Thought arises, return attention to silence.

"...the ego does not bow its head." Thought arises, return attention to silence.

Diogenes - it's not about how long the attention stays in silence (stillness), it's about the repeated return, even for a moment. Perseverance will slowly but surely bring its inevitable result.

Diogenes said...

*,
thanks again. Yes, I will try it again, persistently - even when the mind refuses to cooperate and to return to a silent state.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, thanks for your encouraging words. Yes, whatever I wrote in the comment you refer to was just a paraphrase of Michael’s ideas.

I hope Bhagavan gives you the necessary strength to deal with your current difficulties. However, as long as we experience ourself as this ego, our problems and difficulties are inevitable. We cannot change or avoid these things, but we can change our attitude towards our troubles. If everything is taking place according to the sweet will Bhagavan, our difficulties are also his will.

How to face or overcome these difficulties? The general advice we receive in this regard is that we should not run away from our difficulties, but should face then head on and deal with it. This could be true from one perspective, but Bhagavan gives us a much more effective way to deal with our problems.

That is, we should not pay attention to our problems, because attention to them strengthens and makes these problems appear much bigger than they really are. Instead, we should try to ignore our problems by attending to the one who has these problems. This is the brahmastra (the supreme weapon) given to us by Bhagavan. This weapon will immediately remove our miseries (at least for the time being), because one who has this misery, namely our ego, temporarily subsides as a result of our self-investigation.

Yes, Bhagavan sometimes removes some of our anchors of security, because this is his way of making us cling to the ultimate anchor: Bhagavan. So, as you seem to imply, Bhagavan is doing us a favour by giving us all these worldly problems, because without these problems we may not turn to Bhagavan, our only real refuge.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, greetings! Thank you. Our future will be as our present is, and therefore if we can rectify our present, we will automatically rectify our future.

I mean, all our current problems are a projection of our own mind. I know this may not be an entirely satisfactory teaching, if we are currently facing big problems in our life, as you seem to be facing now. However, if we can remove our mind from the picture by investigating the truth of our mind, we will remove all our current problems and also all our future problems.

Yes, our efforts can take us only so far. Bhagavan used to say, grace is the beginning of our sadhana, grace is the middle and grace is the end. As you say, ‘those very efforts we attributed to ourselves are also His Grace’.

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we are not able to take care of ourself in our old age, will Bhagavan take care of us? Yes, it will. The following example illustrates this quite beautifully:

Maurice Frydman was in Bombay during his last illness. Except an old lady, his close friend, who herself was invalid and much older than him, there was no one to attend to him. How could Bhagavan see His devotee suffer unattended!

A professional nurse had a dream in which an old man in a loin cloth urged her to go to Maurice Frydman and attend to him in his last days. The next day, moved by curiosity, she went to Maurice and offered her professional services. The offer was turned down. Disappointed, she started walking out of the house. Lo! when she lifted her head, she saw the face of the ‘old man’ of her dream, in a picture hanging on the wall, over the exit door! It was Bhagavan Ramana. She again went back into the room and told him, the moving story of his Master commanding her to take care of him, Maurice gladly agreed. Till the last moment of his earthly life Maurice was most peaceful and serene, in body and mind.

~ Taken from the book: Moments Remembered - Reminiscences of Bhagavan Ramana (chapter: Victorious Ramana), by V. Ganesan

Sanjay Lohia said...

It is only when we rise as a form that we see all the forms of the world and even conceive of God as a form. We may understand that God is formless, but so long as we identify ourself as a body, even the thought that ‘God is formless’ is itself a form.

When Bhagavan talks about forms, he is not talking about only the gross material forms. According to him, every phenomenon is a form, and every thought is a phenomenon. A form is what has distinguishing features. Each form has certain distinguishing features, which distinguishes one form from other. Even our thoughts or feelings are forms. Our body a form composed of five sheaths.

~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 22/04/2018 (afternoon)

nama-rupa said...

Sanjay Lohia,
the given extract is certainly taken from the video dated 22/04/2017(afternoon). We cannot know whether the month of April 2018 will come at all.

Anonymous said...

Will our old friends groundnut breeder and peanut breeder ever come back?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Nama-Rupa, I thank you for pointing out my typo. Yes, the date should have been 22/04/2017 (afternoon). As long as we experience ourself as this ego, April 2018 will come in all probability.

However, if we want to avoid experiencing this date or that matter any other date, we should investigate the reality of our ego, If we do so we will find that the ego does not exist. If there is no ego there can be no time and space, and therefore April 2018 can never come.

nama-rupa said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"...we should investigate the reality of our ego, If we do so we will find that the ego does not exist. "
To be on the safe side you did not name the point in time when we will find the ego's non-existence. In my own previous experience results only a rather pessimistic view : that will sorely try my patience and will finally not occur before the year 200018.

coconut breeder said...

Anonymous,
why do you miss me ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan: There is no harm in engaging in whatever activities come to one. The hindrance or bondage is in imagining that we are the doers and attaching ourselves to the fruits of such actions. (taken from Day by Day)

Reflections: Who engages in activities? It is our body, speech and mind. So we should let our body, speech and mind act in whatever way these are meant to act. However, we should not look for work nor avoid any work which falls to our lot. But who is ‘we’ who should not avoid any work. This ‘we’ is our body, speech and mind.

However, since we are not this body and mind, we should not be concerned with what they are made to do according to our prarabdha. The actions of our body and mind are not a hindrance, but our hindrance is:

a) The sense that ‘I have to do this or that’ (kartavya buddhi).
b) The sense of doership or the sense ‘I am doing’ (kartrtva buddhi)
c) The sense of enjoyership or ‘I am experiencing’, say I am experiencing pain or pleasure or whatever.

All these three are related and one cannot exist without the other two. These three are our bondage and not the actions. Actions of our body, speech and mind will go on according to our destiny, but we as this ego are free not to have this kartavya buddhi, kartrtva buddhi and the sense of enjoyership by not attending to our actions. We can do so by attending instead to the one who seems to be going these actions, the subject ‘I’.

This is the direct path to destroy our ego. Without our ego, there can be no ‘kartavya buddhi, Kartrtva buddhi and the sense of enjoyership’. This is a state of mukti (liberation).

Garima said...

Salazar you replied?

Your still posting more and more ... and longer and longer comments?

So long you self proclaimed spiritually advanced mature ajnani you.
Who thinks it's bad for my mental health?
That doesn't require an answer by the way.

:o)

controll tower said...

Please avoid showing bumbling and oafish behaviour.

* said...

Ramana's highest teaching was, and is, silence. The guru is within you always. Now. Nothing to understand, nothing to know, nothing to remember, except to turn to his ceaseless teaching.

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment: reflections on Bhagavan’s quotation:

Bhagavan: There is no harm in engaging in whatever activities come to one. The hindrance or bondage is in imagining that we are the doers and attaching ourselves to the fruits of such actions. (Day by Day)

Reflections: As long as we experience ourself as this ego, we will have all the three: kartavya buddhi, kartrtva buddhi and the sense of enjoyership. However, to the extent our ego is attenuated, these three will also be attenuated.

How is our ego attenuation? It is attenuated by reducing the strength and number of our vishaya-vasanas. A ripe sadhaka may have a very weak ego because of all the self-investigation which he may have done, and therefore he may have a very negligible sense of kartavya buddhi, kartrtva buddhi and the sense of enjoyership. However, all these three will be there as long as his ego is there.

In Day by Day Bhagavan also says:

Bhagavan: Nothing that the body does should shake you from abidance in the Self. Such abidance will never interfere with the proper and effective discharge of whatever duties the body has.

Reflections: As Bhagavan implies, the body should do its work but we need not attend to our body or whatever it is destined to do. Our self-abidance should be unshakable at all times, and such abidance will not ‘interfere with the proper and effective discharge of whatever duties the body has’. As Bhagavan says in the 11th paragraph of Nan Yar:

If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa[self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own actual self], that alone [will be] sufficient.

We should try to cling fast to uninterrupted svarupa-smarana, by totally ignoring the activities of our body and mind. Let them act or let them be idle, what is it to us?

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

Bhagavan also says in Day by Day:

Advaita does not mean that you must always sit in samadhi and never engage in action. Many things are necessary to keep up the life of the body, and action can never be avoided.

Reflections: Our body needs to at least eat food in order to survive, and it needs to make efforts to get that food. Even when it gets its food, it needs to make effort to put it in its mouth. So actions of the body and mind cannot be avoided. We should let our body act as it is destined to work. It needs food, clothing, shelter, it needs to pay the bills, and it may need to take care of its dependents and so on.

In other words, in the name of spiritual practices, we should not force our body not to work. As Bhagavan says, ‘Advaita does not mean that you must always sit in samadhi and never engage in action’.

Again, Bhagavan was totally against renunciation in the sense of leaving one’s family and worldly responsibilities, by going away somewhere. He used to say that renunciation should be in one's mind. If anybody wanted to take sannyasa, he would say something to the effect: ‘Where can you go leaving your mind behind? Wherever you will go you will carry your mind with you, and this mind the problem and not your worldly duties. Let your mind be cool in solitude, but let your hands be active society’.

If it is our prarabdha we will renounce our family, but we should not plan for such a renunciation. I believe, Buddha never planned his renunciation but just left at the spur of the moment. Definitely, Bhagavan didn’t plan his renunciation. After his death experience, one day when he was reprimanded by his brother for a small reason, he decided to leave his family then and there. He had no doubts or confusion before he took this step. Such renunciation was the prarabdha of Bhagavan’s body.


beyond the mind said...

*,
"...turn to his ceaseless teaching."
You seem to recommend to turn the mind to silence.
Where can the mind find silence ?
Silence is to find at best behind the mind.
Or what else do you mean ?

sat-vastu said...

What is behind the mind ? In any case there is no mind.
And where or what are we then ? Is that mindless state our real state ?

* said...

beyond the mind - if I'm not mistaken, the first time I've used the word 'mind' here was when I typed your name just now. I have used the word 'attention' quite a bit, however.

As you may (or may not) know, Ramana referred to the mind as 'a bundle of thoughts'. To 'turn to his ceaseless teaching' is merely to withdraw attention from thought or thinking to rest in silence (stillness), our natural state.

sat-vastu said...

*,
attention is a function of the mind. Withdrawing one's attention from thought or thinking is also done by the mind. Who or what is being aware of resting in silence ?

* said...

sat-vastu - attention is not a function of the mind.

Silence / stillness is being. Attention is awareness.

sat-chit

sat-vastu said...

*,
making an effort to turn our attention within is certainly done by the mind.
But attention upon our essential thought-free self-consciousness 'I am' alone can be called as self-attentiveness.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Suppose if I am fully absorbed in atma-nistha, what happens to my prarabdha? If I subside in self-abidance to such an extent that I am not aware of any phenomena (but my ego has not yet been destroyed), what happens to my prarabdha? Does it still go on, that means do my body, speech and mind still act as dictated by my destiny, even while I am not aware of such actions? Or does my prarabdha simply doesn’t take place?

According to my understanding, if I am so deeply absorbed in self-abidance that I am not aware of any phenomena, then my body, speech and mind do not act as in any way, because my body and mind simply do not exist when I am not experiencing them. My body and mind come into existence only when I rise as this ego. So without the ego, I can have no body. Thus in such a scenario there could be no possibility of my body and mind acting in any manner. Such actions simply do not take place. Thus I skip experiencing a part of my destiny. However, I will again experience the remaining part of my destiny once I come out of such deep self-abidance.

This is how I understand it. I will happy to be corrected.

Michael James said...

Sanjay, if you were fully absorbed in ātma-niṣṭhā, you would not care about what had happened to your prārabdha, and so long as you are at all concerned with what would happen to it, you cannot be fully absorbed in ātma-niṣṭhā. Why? Because even the slightest concern about prārabdha would prevent you surrendering yourself entirely, which is the prerequisite for ātma-niṣṭhā.

Prārabdha and concern about it are both only for the ego, and so long as there is ego there is no ātma-niṣṭhā. What Bhagavan taught us about prārabdha was intended to make us understand that we need not and should not be at all concerned with it. Let anything happen to it. Why should it concern us?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for this reply and your appropriate advice that one should not be concerned with prarabdha or what happens to it while one is in atma-nistha, because such concerns are a hindrance to one's surrendering oneself entirely.

In spirituality, like in most other fields, this one-to-one advice from someone who knows better than us is invaluable. We may read all your articles, watch all your videos, read all your comments written in response to our other friends, but we will not really learn if we do not get direct guidance from someone like you, who has travelled the path.

You are correct: if we have concerns about anything other than ourself, our attention will be on that other thing. At one stage even the name and form of Bhagavan can become an obstacle if we are not willing to leave our attachment to them. Ultimately, we have to turn within and surrender everything, and this includes all our concerns about prarabdha.

I thank you once again. With regards.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I wrote in my previous comment: ‘we will not really learn if we do not get guidance directly from someone like you, who has travelled the path’. Actually, the words ‘learn’ should be replaced by ‘unlearn’:

‘we will not really unlearn if we do not get guidance directly from someone like you, who has travelled the path’.

We have learnt that we are this body, that this world is real, that we need money to survive in this world and that therefore we should make some arrangements for our future and so on. According to Bhagavan’s teachings, all these are erroneous beliefs. So, therefore, we have to unlearn all these things.

As Bhagavan has taught us, the only way to unlearn everything is to investigate and find out the reality of the ego. If we investigate it and discover that it does not exist, we will in one stroke unlearn everything. If the ego goes, our body and this world will also disappear along with it. When these disappear all our body related concerns will also vanish forever.

The ego does not exist even when it seems to exist, and therefore our karmas, namely prarabdha, agamya and sanchita also are not real. They are there as long as our ego is there. So we should completely ignore these things if we want to surrender to Bhagavan.

The only problem is, it is relatively easy to understand these things, but when it comes to putting these things into practice, we fail miserably, and I am speaking for myself when I say this. Anyway, as Bhagavan would often say, everything will come out well in the end. I am sure he will continue to protect and guide us at every step of the way.

Thanks and regards.




Michael James said...

Sanjay, in your reply you imply that I have ‘travelled the path’, but we are all travelling the same path, and we have no way of knowing how far we or anyone else has travelled, so please do not put me on any kind of pedestal. All I did in my previous comment was to remind you what is important, as we should each be reminding ourself, so I wrote it as much for myself as for you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, as you say, ‘we have no way of knowing how far we or anyone else has travelled’. I agree; however, though we may be co-travellers, but your companionship has been a great help to me in my journey. Bhagavan’s grace has no limits. Like a mother gives milk to her infant unasked, he provides us with all the help we need unasked. With regards.

Mouna said...

Dear Michael, I completely agree with you about the travelers companionship. At the same time, we all know that for the unseasoned traveler like many of us are here, as simple as it may appear, the roadmap sometimes reads very cryptic. It takes an experienced guide that is also “part of the club” to decipher the subtleties of the different turns and directions so we don’t end up in a ditch or stuck in some imaginary road dead end.
I join my voice to Sanjay’s here in being grateful for having your traveling skills and experience among us to clarify further what is already quite simple...

Be well, and thanks again
M

tanmaya-nishtha said...

Michael,
may I put a silly question: to whom exactly should I surrender myself/my ego entirely ?
Of course I feel within me something higher, greater and superordinate than my ego.
But that "higher authority" is too vague and unclear to me/my mind/mental understanding.

Salazar said...

I like to join Sanjay and Mouna and thank Michael for his invaluable comments. What a difference to these often cryptic "pointers" from elsewhere which are not helpful at all. Those are purely from the intellectual mind which can only be but confused.

Thanks again.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Tanmaya-Nishtha, to whom should we surrender? We, ourself, should surrender to ourself. The first ‘ourself’ refers to our ego, and the second ‘ourself’ refers to ourself as we actually are.

Are there two ‘I’s within you? One ‘I’ which you take to be yourself and another ‘I’ which you feel is something ‘higher, greater’. There is only ‘I’; how can we experience ourself as ‘two in one’. We are not like the ‘two in one’ ice-creams! As Bhagavan says in the 33rd verse of Ulladu Narpadu:

Saying ‘I do not know myself’, ‘I have known myself’, is ground for ridicule. Why? To make oneself an object, are there two selves? Because being one is the truth, the experience of everyone.

You say, ‘But that "higher authority" is too vague and unclear to me/my mind/mental understanding’. It is like saying ‘I am too vague and unclear to myself’. We ourself are that ‘higher authority’ in our real nature, though we may experience ourself as this ego now.

So we can say that our true state is presently obscured from our view, because we now experience ourself as this limited and finite body, whereas we the unlimited and infinite pure self-awareness. However, we are never hidden from ourself. When we will be able to experience this 'I' absolutely clearly (without any adjuncts), that is atma-sakshatkara.

tanmaya-nishtha said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thanks for your answer to my silly question.
Yes, it is said that "we (are) the unlimited and infinite pure self-awareness."
As I said above at present I am aware of that pure self-awareness at best only uncleary.
In relation to my initial question, my willingness to surrender to something unclear, nebulous and obscure is hardly to get. Therefore I have to find my own way.
Kind regards.

Michael James said...

Tanmaya-nishtha, in reply to your ‘silly question’, no question is silly if it is asked with sincere desire to understand Bhagavan’s teaching more clearly and deeply.

We can surrender the ego only to something that will remain when it has been surrendered, so in order to work out to whom or to what we should surrender it we need to consider what will remain after it has been surrendered. In verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan says: ‘If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. The ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this is alone is giving up everything’. Since everything will cease to exist when the ego ceases to exist, we cannot surrender the ego to anything included in what Bhagavan refers to here as ‘everything’.

So what does he mean by ‘everything’, and what is not included in this ‘everything’? Here ‘everything’ means all phenomena, everything that appears and disappears, so the only thing it does not include is what always exists without ever appearing or disappearing, namely ātma-svarūpa, the real nature of ourself, which is just pure self-awareness. Everything else appears with the ego and disappears with it, because all other things seem to exist only in the view of the ego.

Therefore we can surrender the ego only to our own real nature. In other words, we can surrender ourself as the ego only to ourself as we actually are. Therefore what is called self-surrender is surrendering what we seem to be (namely the ego) to what we actually are (namely pure self-awareness).

So how can we surrender the ego to our real nature? Since the ego is just a mistaken awareness of ourself (that is, an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are), it can be effectively surrendered only by our investigating and knowing what we ourself actually are. This is why Bhagavan defines self-surrender by writing in the first sentence of the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?: ‘ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பதே தன்னை ஈசனுக் களிப்பதாம்’ (āṉma-cintaṉaiyai-t tavira vēṟu cintaṉai kiḷambuvadaṟku-c caṯṟum iḍam-koḍāmal ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ-āy iruppadē taṉṉai īśaṉukku aḷippadām), ‘Being one who is steadily fixed in oneself (ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ), giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any thought (cintana) other than thought of oneself (ātma-cintana), alone is giving oneself to God’.

Though āṉma-cintaṉai (ātma-cintana) literally means ‘thought of oneself’, what it implies is meditation on oneself or self-attentiveness, which is the practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), so what Bhagavan teaches us in this sentence is that we can surrender ourself only by investigating ourself, because we can give up the ego only by being aware of ourself as we actually are.

Though he describes surrender here as ‘தன்னை ஈசனுக்கு அளிப்பது’ (taṉṉai īśaṉukku aḷippadu), which means ‘giving oneself to God’, what he means here by ‘ஈசன்’ (īśaṉ) or ‘God’ is only our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure self-awareness, because any other conception of God is something that seems to exist only in the view of the ego, and hence it will cease to exist when the ego is surrendered completely.

Michael James said...

Tanmaya-nishtha, regarding your reply to Sanjay, in which you say ‘at present I am aware of that pure self-awareness at best only unclearly’, are you not clearly aware that you exist? That awareness ‘I am’ is pure self-awareness, so you are clearly aware of it, even though its real nature seems to be obscured by the ego, the false adjunct-mixed self-awareness ‘I am this body, this person called Tanmaya-nishtha’.

Therefore what we need to surrender is only this mistaken self-awareness ‘I am this body’, which we can do only by investigating ourself and thereby being aware of ourself as we actually are, namely as the pure adjunct-free self-awareness ‘I am’.

tanmaya-nishtha said...

Michael,
many thanks for your both comments and clarification of my question which was actually asked with sincere desire...
However, my previous attempts to being aware of my real nature - as the pure adjunct-free self-awareness 'I am' - were (almost) a total failure. Only by direct firm guidance of the inner Bhagavan this ego will ever surrender completely.

* said...

"The atmosphere in the nature (woods, meadows, some rock faces along the path) was bathed in bright sunlight and the mind subsided temporarily in heavenly peace. Five hours in a tight embrace by natural surroundings - it was wonderful, magnificent, paradisical.
May all beings be aware of great inner peace..." - tanmaya-nishtha

Surrender is the turning of attention from thought (mind) to that inner peace (silence / stillness). That silence is 'the inner Bhagavan' - your real nature, your guidance - and that is to whom you should surrender.

Michael James said...

Tanmaya-nishtha, regarding your remark that “my previous attempts to being aware of my real nature — as the pure adjunct-free self-awareness ‘I am’ — were (almost) a total failure”, we should not be deterred by failure, because we have to fail many times before we succeed. Every attempt we make to see what we actually are (that is, to be aware of ourself as pure self-awareness, uncontaminated by even the slightest awareness of anything else) will be a failure until the one successful attempt, which will be the final one, because when we succeed our ego will be dissolved forever, so there will be no coming back or need to attempt anything ever again.

However, though every attempt till the final one will be a failure in the sense that we will not see what we actually are, by persistently trying we will gradually purify our mind, attenuate our ego and refine our power of attention or discernment, so in this sense every attempt is by definition a success, because it takes us one step closer to our goal of complete self-surrender (dissolution of the ego).

Sanjay Lohia said...

‘ […] so in this sense every attempt is by definition a success, because it takes us one step closer to our goal of complete self-surrender (dissolution of the ego)’, writes Michael in his comment addressed to Tanmaya-nishtha. Very true! With every attempt we are one step closer to our goal, and therefore we should not underestimate the value of each step we take or even attempt to take towards our goal.

What is our goal? It is, in the words of Michael, ‘pure self-awareness, uncontaminated by even the slightest awareness of anything else’.

Michael James said...

Venkat, regarding the comment in which you wrote, ‘The point about Bhagavan’s teaching that the mind projects the world is moot’, it is moot only if we choose to believe that he did not actually mean what he wrote clearly and unequivocally in Nāṉ Yār? (particularly in the third, fourth, fifth and eighteenth paragraphs), Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam (verses 6 and 7) and Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu (such as in verses 6, 7, 14, 23 and 26), and what he implied very clearly in so many other things that he wrote or said.

One of the core principles of his teaching is that everything other than pure self-awareness seems to exist only in the view of the mind or ego and therefore does not exist independent of it, and this underlies and is logically entailed by all the other core principles, because all of them form a logically coherent whole. Therefore if we are not willing to accept all of them together, our understanding of his teachings will be fragmentary, incoherent and incomplete.

You say, ‘There are a variety of excerpts from Talks, from Muruganar’s and Lakshmana Sarma’s written words, that the world does not disappear on extinction of the ego, it is just seen as a mirage’, but this is because Bhagavan often expressed his teachings in a more diluted fashion in order to suit the needs of those who were not willing to accept them in an undiluted form. For example, he sometimes spoke of his prārabdha, such as when he said that it was his prārabdha to leave his home and live as a renunciant, even though such outward renunciation is not necessary for attaining liberation, but in verse 33 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Anubandham he says that saying that prārabdha does remain for the jñāni is ‘வேற்றார் கேள்விக்கு விளம்பும் சொல்’ (vēṯṟār kēḷvikku viḷambum sol), ‘a reply said to the questions of others’, in which ‘வேற்றார்’ (vēṯṟār) or ‘others’ refers to those who are not willing to accept his teaching in an undiluted form. Therefore whenever he said anything that was not logically consistent with the core principles of his teachings as expressed in Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and elsewhere, we should understand that that was likewise just ‘a reply said to the questions of others’.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment.)

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Venkat:

You also say, ‘If you do hold to the viewpoint that the ego-mind has actually projected the phenomenal world, and that it disappears on enlightenment, that begs the question why has our ego-mind projected Bhagavan, and more importantly how can we trust this ego-mind in its projection of Bhagavan’s teaching, and our ego-mind’s liking of Bhagavan's teaching?’, but Bhagavan has already answered this question in a variety of ways. For example, he said that the outward form of the guru (and by implication his teachings) is like the lion seen by an elephant in its dream. Though the lion itself is unreal, the fear it arouses in the elephant causes it to wake up.

He also explained that the outward form of the guru and his teachings are a manifestation of grace, which is the infinite love that we as we actually are have for ourself. Though as we actually are we do not see anything other than ourself, as this ego we experience our own infinite self-love as the working of grace, whose sole purpose is to draw us back within to see ourself as we actually are.

Sanjay Lohia said...

‘Though as we actually are we do not see anything other than ourself, as this ego we experience our own infinite self-love as the working of grace, whose sole purpose is to draw us back within to see ourself as we actually are’, writes Michael in his comment addressed to Venkat.

However, many of us feel that it is grace when Bhagavan does this or that for us. This could be true in one sense, because after all our outward, worldly life is decided by Bhagavan, and he may give us some worldly comforts and conveniences. However, this is not always the case. He may also give us a lot of hardships, because in his infinite wisdom such hardships are needed to make us grow spiritually.

However, the real aim of Bhagavan or grace is not to give us these worldly comforts and conveniences, or is not to give us all our troubles and problems, but its real aim is to ‘draw us back within to see ourself as we actually are’. We often overlook this sole purpose of the working of grace.

Bhagavan is simply being, but when we seem to rise as this ego, he seemingly acts as the power of grace to pull us back within. Why? It is because he wants us just to be, because pure being is infinite happiness, whereas rising as this ego is nothing but misery.

One more point: where is grace? Grace is what we actually are, so if we want to experience grace as it is, we need to turn within and merge in it. In other words, we need to yield to the inner pull of grace, and we can do this by being attentively self-aware. As this ego, we may feel that grace is somewhere up there, but it is down within us. Grace, God, guru and self are interchangeable terms. Bhagavan makes this absolutely clear.

venkat said...

Dear Michael

Thank you for taking the time to write your comment to me. My thoughts, based on my understanding, which may well be incorrect, is as follows.

In Ulladu Narpadu Bhagavan writes (from your translation)
v.9: The dyads and triads which are unreal appearances like the blueness of the sky exist by always clinging to the one (the ego). If one looks with the mind "What is that one", they (the dyads and triads) will slip off. Only those who have thus seen the non-existence of the ego and of all its products, namely the dyads and triads are those who have seen the truth. After seeing thus, they will not be perturbed by the unreal appearance of the dyads and triads, because in their outlook those dyads and triads will be non-existent. See thus.

In Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham, Bhagavan quoting Vasistha's advice to Rama:
v.26: "O hero, having enquired into all the states which are of various kinds, play your role in the world always clinging firmly with the mind only to that one which is the supreme state devoid of unreality. O hero, since you have known that Self which exists in the heart as the Reality of the various appearances; therefore without ever abandoning that outlook, play your role in the world, as if you have desire"

Murugunar wrote in his commentary on vs.1119 of GVK:
"There is no rule that the mind whose knot has been cut should not operate amongst the sense objects. Through strength of practice, it can remain without kartrutva, the suttarivu, and it can operate among them [the sense objects] wholly as the Self, and it will not in the least be bound by them."

Similarly there are a number of verses in Murugunar's poetry that state the same. For example, in the recent book "Shining of my Lord":
v.892: For those who have known the state of pure consciousness and who are abundantly rejoicing in it, everything that is perceived is just a concept.
v.914: Even the power of imagination is not seen as different from consciousness the supreme, the swarupa that shines as the true eye. In front of my royal presence, I who am the king of mauna, it is a wonderful dance performance, a play enacted by true jnana.
v.918 Because I am full of the knowledge of my real nature, I exist as the expanse of divine grace, the silence that is stillness. The entire life of delusion, the mirage that is the sport of Maya, is merely a collection of shadows that appear within me.

In Guru Ramana Vachana Mala, in which Lakshmana Karma has translated some of Murugnar's verses:
v316: As the cinema screen is not burnt by the fire of a picture passing over it, so the Jivanmukta is not moved to grief by the disasters of the world.

In Sri Ramana Darsanam, Sadhu Natananda has written:
"Like the goldsmith who never loses sight of the gold even while he sees various ornaments, the jivanmukta never loses sight of the Self even as he perceives the various adjuncts"

(to continue)

venkat said...

(continued)

My understanding from Bhagavan's writings is that our jiva-minds construct a world of good and bad, preference and aversion, goals and objectives, and live totally immersed in that. Whilst he was pointing out that these have no reality in and of themselves; and that by giving reality to them and being carried away by them, we are missing the fundamental truth that everything is of the same stuff. It is all just gold, whatever the name and form of the ornaments. It is the taking of the ornaments as real rather than seeing the underlying gold is our error. And the only way we can do that is by killing the ego, the objectifying consciousness.

If you say that Bhagavan and all these respected followers of Bhagavan, gave these teaching statements for people who are not capable of understanding / accepting the full truth . . . perhaps, but there is no rebuttal to that. And in that case, perhaps the conclusion is that my mind projection is not mature enough such that it can understand the full truth, and rather it is attached to a lesser teaching that he and these others gave. Fair enough.

In any event, it is 'moot' because either way, we both understand that the ego, the I-thought, is the fundamental illusion, and that it needs to die, and that the only way to do this is through self-enquiry, turning away from all outward things. Whether or not the perception of the world disappears at that point of liberation doesn't really matter does it? Why concern ourselves with what what happens when the ego dies?

With best wishes and sincere gratitude for all your work,

venkat

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